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Details & Cataloguing

Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection

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London

Designed by Victor Stiebel
EVENING GOWN
pink satin full length evening dress with lace cap sleeved gold and pink voided brocade and lace style bodice and full bell-shaped skirt
with embroidered label
pink satin, net, lace
1907–1976
Designed and made circa 1962
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Catalogue Note

The couturier Victor Stiebel (1907-1976) made many clothes for Vivien Leigh, and the two became lifelong friends. Born in South Africa, Stiebel opened his first business in 1932 in 21 Bruton Street, Mayfair, and in 1958 set up a couture house at 17 Cavendish Square, which closed in 1963. As well as film stars such as Vivien Leigh and Katharine Hepburn, Stiebel’s clients included members of the royal family. Vivien and Stiebel’s close relationship is illustrated by a correspondence of over one hundred letters now in the Victoria & Albert Museum's Vivien Leigh Archive. A variant of the present pink satin evening gown can be seen in Stiebel's sketch-book from 1962 (London College of Fashion Victor Stiebel Archive, Sketch Book of 1962 & 1963, VS265) as well as realised in portrait of a model with Stiebel himself.

In an unpublished interview with biographer Hugo Vickers, the actress Fabia Drake, a close friend of the Oliviers, recalled: 'the person I think she was most intimate with in the world of fashion was Victor Stiebel. She not only bought a great deal many beautiful clothes from [him] and he adored dressing her because of her beauty and her elegance - but there was a very great friendship between them - and he loved her - I think that is something one can say without a pause - he loved her [...] I don't think any woman is a heroine to her couturier unless she has some great qualities' (Fabia Drake, unpublished interview with Hugo Vickers, 10.2.1987). 

Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection

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London