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The Gibson Girl
Jillian Clark Gibson
©2006, The Gibson Girl


The Gibson Girl was the iconic representation of feminine beauty created by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944).  She “reigned” in the United States during a 20-year period between the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century.  Her image was published in newspapers and magazines of the time and adorned many advertising and marketing campaigns.  She was the first “super model.”

The Gibson Girl was tall and slender with the hourglass figure popular during that time.  In addition to her refined beauty, in spirit she was calm, independent and confident, and she sought personal fulfillment.  There’s no question she was surrounded by an aura – she was self-confident to the point of being somewhat remote and aloof but never haughty.  Gibson illustrated her as being so captivating that men would follow her anywhere, attempting to fulfill any desire.  Men wanted to possess her and women wanted to be her.  Many models posed for Gibson Girl-style illustrations, including Gibson's wife, Irene Langhorne, who may have been the original model, and her sister, the infamous Evelyn Nesbit.  Stage actress Camille Clifford was probably the most famous Gibson Girl, for her looks and style personified Gibson’s iconic images. 

World War I saw a waning of the popularity of The Gibson Girl; the elegant fashions and long skirts worn by her in Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations were replaced by practical clothes that were more compatible for women in a country immersed in a world war.  However, during World War II radio transmitters carried by plans in over-the-water operations were called “Gibson Girl” because of their hourglass shape.

A timeless classic, just like the purse that bears her name.