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Day dress

Day dress

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1947 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stiebel, Victor, born 1907 - died 1976 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk grosgrain with net and a horsehair frill

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Cornwallis

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

An enormous bustle bow dominates this striped silk dress by Victor Steibel. In February 1947 Christian Dior had launched the New Look featuring pinched waists, full skirts and a soft shoulder line. It was an attempt to reinstate feminity in dress after a period of wartime austerity and shortage. The impractical scale and frivolity of Steibel's bow was clearly a defiant gesture against rationing. It makes lavish use of material and is so large and weighty that it requires the support of a sturdy horsehair frill beneath the skirts.

Victor Steibel was born in South Africa. He moved to London in 1924 to study at Cambridge. Following an apprenticeship with the Reville and Rossiter fashion house, he opened his own Bruton Street couture house in 1932. After the Second World War he worked with Jacqmar and reopened his couture house in Cavendish Square in 1958. Steibel was a highly successful British designer, celebrated for his stylish feminine clothing, striped fabrics and evening wear.

Physical description

Silk grosgrain day dress supported with net petticoats and a horsehair frill. Enormous bustle bow at the rear, an unusually extravagant touch for day wear. Green and yellow stripes.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1947 (designed)


Stiebel, Victor, born 1907 - died 1976 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk grosgrain with net and a horsehair frill

Object history note

Worn by Lady Cornwallis:
Esme Ethel Alice d'Beaumont (1901-1969) is the daughter of Captian Montmorency d'Beaumont. She married, firstly, Major Sir Robert James Milo Walker, 4 Bt., on 23 January 1923. She married, secondly, Sir Wykeham Stanley Cornwallis (1892-1982), 2nd Baron Cornwallis on 26 February 1948.
Given by the 3rd Lord and Lady Cornwallis.

The dominating feature of this dress is the enormous bustle bow at the rear, an unusually extravagant touch for day wear. The lavish use of material for a decorative, non-functioning trimming was a defiant gesture in this time of austerity and rationing.

Victor Steibel at Jacqmar, 16 Grosvenor Street, London, W1.

Descriptive line

Silk grosgrain day dress with net, designed by Victor Stiebel, London, 1947

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

De La Haye, Amy, ed. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947-1997. London: V&A Publications, 1997. p.74, plate 45
Vogue (British), March 1947
de la Haye, A., 'Material Evidence' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007),

Labels and date

With its luxurious and bright bouffant skirt (which is given extra fullness by a stiff horsehair frill beneath the layered skirts) and frivolous bow, this dress takes some elements from the New Look. In the austere period after the war, it presented a striking contrast to prevailing pared-down Utility designs. [1997]
English, Victor Steibel
Autumn 1947
Striped grosgrain silk

This cleverly constructed dress reveals Steibel's skill in the use of a striped material. Creating an effective contrast, a full skirt is gathered over a longer tubular skirt. This overskirt is made with just one vertical seam and gathered to fit the waist leaving the selvedge free to provide a crisp and original finish. The fashionably bouffant shape is further emphasised by an enormous bustle bow supported (from within the skirt) by a horsehair frill.

Given by Lady Cornwallis
T.292-1984 [1988]


Silk (textile); Net (textile)


Fashion; Women's clothes; Day wear


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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