Friday, January 02, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Bill Blass Label

NexCen, owner of Bill Blass, Ltd, has decided to close the business and shut the label down after failure to sell the company. It's a sad end to one of the most famous of American design houses.

Bill Blass was born in 1922 in Fort Wayne, IN. He began sketching fashion ideas at a young age, and at 19, left Indiana for New York. After service in the Army, Blass worked for Anne Klein and then at Anna Miller, where he became the head designer. When Miller retired in 1959, Blass remained with the business as it merged with her brother's company, Maurice Rentner. By 1960, the name Bill Blass was on the Rentner labels. In 1970, Blass bought Rentner's company and renamed it Bill Blass, Ltd.

Early 60's

Well known for his suits and evening wear, Blass prefered to work with natural fibers: silk, wool, linen, and cotton. He loved bold patterns and bright colors.


Following his farewell collection in September 1999, Blass sold his company due to his continuing fight with throat cancer. He died in 2002.


Bill Blass, Ltd. limped along for nearly 10 years with two owners and several designers, but sales plummeted and the line never again had Mr. Blass's caché. It is a sad end to a great American design house.