I have a deep fascination in costume history-mainly in outfits worn by women in the 1880s through to the 1920s. But I tend to dwell on the 1880s and 1890s more, simply because of the notion of women conforming to the ideal of one man’s vision of what women of the period should look like. I’m referring to Charles Dana Gibson‘s Gibson Girl.
When I purchased the newspaper illustration above at an auction several years ago, that is all I saw: the woman’s fancy dress with a ridiculous train, her tiny waist (not to mention her perfect hourglass figure,) the low cut neckline, her perfectly coiffed hair, and her dainty facial features-all things women of the time wanted to emulate. And who wouldn’t? Especially if you could look like Camille Clifford, Gibson’s original muse for the Gibson Girl:
The title of the piece, if you can’t see in the image of the print, is “Called Out: When Society Becomes Unionized.” As far as what this title means: I’m not entirely sure. Gibson often chronicled the upper echelons of New York and Boston society, where old aristocratic families mingled, excluding newcomers, or those they deemed as new money or those unworthy of their attention. I’m assuming this caricature is referring to something of that nature. Anybody else have any thoughts?