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HAIR HISTORY - The Gibson Girl
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Drawing by Charles Dana Gibson

The influence of television and movies on fashion trends today were once employed by the illustrator. Charles Dana Gibson was one such artist. His impact with pen and ink lasted almost two decades from his first sale to Life Magazine in 1886. His drawings portrayed young, beautiful people, self-assured, and dressed fashionable. They represented America's fast growing middle class, climbing up the social ladder, giving a ray of hope for a better more secure life. Many young women copied the Gibson Girl's dress, hairstyle and gestures. Her chin was held high and she emanated an air of distinction and confidence.

Hairstyles from this time period were worn high in the front and combed over a "rat" which was often horse hair. The hair was waved with hot tongs in the technique coined by the Parisian hairdresser Marcel in the 'nineties. Women soon realized the abuse that was caused by constant Marceling the hair and turned to adding waved hairpieces.

This time period is referred to as the Edwardian. Women often wore white dresses embellished with fine embroidery, applique, and lace. Lingerie was worn to give the Gibson Girl silhouette it's famous curves. A popular saying was that "the invisible is more important than the visible".
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Modern day Gibson Style

I was recently in an antique store and discovered these photographs hiding on the floor, in a tattered shoe box. While gazing at these beautiful women with their fashionable Gibson Girl hairstyles, I wondered what their tale might have been. How long did they live? Did a hairstylist comb their hair? Were they married? Did they have children? But most of all, they affirm a long time phrase that a woman's hairstyle is her most important accessory. If it wasn't for their timely hairdo's, they would still be concealed in that old shoe box. Instead, they are on my website in all their splendor for the world to see. A beauty feast for the eyes. Enjoy!

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