Dressing Up, Dressing Down

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evening dress 2011.54.jpg
dress 1951.96
dress fashion plate 1951.96
dress 1956.17
dress photo 1956.17
evening dress detail  2011.54.jpg

Victor Stiebel (1907-76) was brought up in Durban in South Africa, arriving in England in 1924 to study at Cambridge. Having designed for theatre wardrobe at university, he worked in dress design at the House of Reville for three years until opening his own house in 1932. He enlisted for the Second World War in 1940, closing his house, but he returned to designing in 1946, working for Jacqmar, and becoming Chairman of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers. He reopened his own house in 1958, having great initial success, but being forced to close after only 5 years in 1963 on health grounds.

Stiebel was very much part of the Establishment, and was commissioned to design new uniforms for the WRENS (1951) and the WRAF (1954) whilst also creating the going-away outfit for Princess Margaret on her marriage to Lord Snowdon in 1960. He was, however, also particularly celebrated for his romantic almost scuptural one-off evening gowns as in all three of these dramatic examples illustrated; one in black cotton satin with a swathe of pleated white cotton from shoulder to hem; another in pink cotton organdie, printed with large white spots and finished with an attached white pique shawl collar; and a third in emerald green satin with elaborate embroidery to the bodice.

Full item descriptions:

"evening dress & fashion design" [1951.96], Stiebel, Victor, Jacqmar
"evening dress" [1956.17], Stiebel, Victor, Jacqmar
"evening dress" [2011.54], Stiebel, Victor

Related Themes:

1950s Fashion
1950s Cotton Board Fashion
Designers