The Gibson Girl is considered to be the fore runner to the collectible vintage pin up posters girl and the best representation of the feminine ideal. The foundation for the vintage pin up posters girl began as portrayal in the humorous pen and ink illustrations and stories penned by Charles Dana Gibson.
Gibson is responsible for the twenty year period of the Gibson Girl popularity, a period which began in the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century within the United States.
The Gibson Girl is arguably the foundation for the ideal of late nineteenth and early twentieth century beauty and fashion ideals. Within the following two decades, the popularity of this fictitious icon ushered in a national craze for any and all things that had the Gibson Girl upon it, creating the first wave of the vintage pin up poster craze. Items that featured the Gibson Girl include a vintage pin up poster, ashtrays, saucers, tablecloths, chair covers, pillow covers, souvenir spoons, umbrella stands, fans and screens, all which bore her image.
A tall, thin female with a plentiful bosom, hips and round bottom, the Gibson Girl is known for her S-curve waist and shape, accomplished by dressing in a swan-bill corset. The images of the vintage pin up poster girl epitomized the ideal within the late nineteenth through early 20th- century and mimics the Western obsession with youthful and statuesque features, and fleeting beauty.
The vintage pin up poster girl had her hair piled high in the contemporary pompadours, bouffant and chignon fashions; waterfalls of hair and curls falling down a thinly designed neck. The narrow-wasted ideal female figure was designed to portray a woman who is multi-faceted, fashionable and always at ease in any social situation. Gibson depicted his vintage pin up poster girl as an equal to contemporary men and sometimes a coy companion to men.
Many vintage pin up poster models posed for Gibson Girl-style drawings, including Irene Langhorne, Gibson’s wife, who was a sister of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor and may have been the original inspiration for the Gibson Girl, as well as Evelyn Nesbit. One of the most famous of all the Gibson Girl was probably Camille Clifford, the Belgian-American stage actress, whose affirmable coiffure and long, sophisticated gowns draped around her hourglass figure beautifully and it was her tightly corseted and wasp-like waist defined the style of the Gibson Girl.
Among Gibson Girl vintage pinup poster illustrators were Harry G. Peter, who is known for his famous art work in the Wonder Woman Comics and Howard Chandler Christy whose work celebrated the image of American beauties, similar to Gibson’s own illustrations did. The personification of limited independence, beauty, personal fulfillment and American national prestige and personal fulfillment, the vintage pin up poster girl that Gibson created marched to her own beat.
She was often pictured choosing the best mate, attending college and yet, the Gibson Girl was never seen as part of a suffrage march. By the World War I, the ever changing climate in fashion caused the Gibson Girl to fall from popularity.