A simple sleeveless top in white cotton piqué is here paired with a voluminous full-length gold and grey check skirt in this somewhat understated Victor Stiebel evening gown, designed in cotton for a Cotton Board fashion parade. South African-born Victor Stiebel (1907-76) studied at Cambridge, where he designed stage costumes for the Footlights Revues. After training with Reville and Rossiter, he opened his own couture house in London in 1932.
During the Second World War, Steibel worked with the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers to promote British fashion around the world. Together with Hardy Amies and Edward Molyneux, he created clothing ranges that could be mass-produced using minimal materials and labour, and selling under the CC41 Utility label. It is clear that the fabric-saving styles of the 1940s were a thing of the past by the time Stiebel designed this sophisticated gown. The long, full skirts of the mid-1950s reflect Britain's post-war optimism and prosperity, as fabric and labour were no longer reserved for the troops, and rationing had at last become a thing of the past.
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