The Gibson Girls: The Kardashians of the Early 1900s
Forget what you know about Khloe and Kim, in the 1900s it was all about Evelyn, Camille, and Irene, the models for drawings that changed the way America thought about women.
The 1900s was all about the "New Woman," wish was a break from the buttoned-up ladies of the 1890s. They were sassy, demanding, and filled with girl-power.
These women inspired Charles Dana Gibson, a popular illustrator, to create "the Gibson girl." They were a catch-all representation of a New Woman—one who rode bikes, wore casual clothing, and flaunted her attitude, but was above all beautiful and anonymous.
By the 1910s, to visit Gibson's office was to push your way through hundreds of gorgeous models with big hair and small waists, each vying for a go as one of Gibson's girls.
Camille Clifford was known for her 18-inch waist and her signature walk. She can also be blamed for the high-maintenance fashion craze that was the S-curve, an overtly sensuous look achieved by a corset laced nearly to the knees.
Evelyn Nesbit was a supermodel who was famous for her long hair as well as her relationship with bachelor Stanford White. Once she married a millionaire, he shot White dead for touching his now-wife.
Irene Langhorne Gibson was far closer to the independent New Woman than her other Gibson Girls. Though her tall stature and haughty looks inspired her husband's art, Irene was far more noteworthy for her passion for Progressive politics. Her philanthropic efforts helped troubled women and children, and her ability to use her society connections effected real change.
While Gibson turned women back into Girls, Irene quietly and tirelessly showed just what a woman could achieve.