Jan & Tom are hosting a Somewhere in Time party today. People are posting about their love for the movie, the costumes, the actors, whatever interests them. One of the things I loved about the film was the era in which it takes place, the time of the Gibson Girls. I have always been fascinated by their hairstyles, wondering how it was so poofy and full yet didn't move or fall down, all in an era pre-hairspray! I did a little Gibson Girl research and learned a lot.
Charles Dana Gibson was originally a silhouette artist, trained by his father. When he reached high school age, his family scrimped to send him to the Art Students League in New York, where he studied for two years. He left school early to work as an illustrator and earn money for his struggling family. With great determination and perseverance he was illustrating for Life, Harper's Monthly, and other top magazines by the age of 23.
The "American girl to all the world," as Gibson called her, began appearing in the 1890s, and Gibson Mania continued for more than twenty years! The marketing of the images can be compared to Star Wars or Mily Cyrus today. Books, china, handkerchiefs, jewelry boxes, anything that could have a face on it was available. High society girls of the day scheduled months in advance for Gibson to paint their portraits after styling them as one of his "girls". After WWI, the country was looking for new directions and the flapper girls of illustrator John Held became the popular fashion. Gibson went on to become editor in chief of Life magazine, and continue his art work in oil painting until his death in 1944.
In the book America's Great Illustrators, Susan E. Meyer gave a great, simple explanation of what made a Gibson Girl: She was taller than the other women currently seen in the pages of magazines.. infinitely more spirited and independent, yet altogether feminine.
She appeared in a stiff shirtwaist, her soft hair piled into a chignon, often topped by a big plumed hat.
Her flowing skirt was hiked up in back with just a hint of a bustle.
She was poised and patrician. Though always well bred, there often lurked a flash of mischief in her eyes.
If you'd like to learn how to put your own hair in a Gibson up-do, visit In Timely Fashion, which has great tutorials on all sorts of well-known classic hair-dos.
If you don't want to do it yourself, you can buy all sorts of styles and colors of Gibson wigs at Costume Wigs Direct.
Most of my information came from this web site about Gibson, his life and career.I hope you enjoyed learning a little something about the styles seen in Somewhere in Time. If you have never seen it, GO GET IT NOW! Take some time to visit the participants at Jan & Tom's Place, where Jan has an extensive post about the storyline, the actors and the setting of the film.