Bill Blass Ltd.
Bill Blass Limited is a fashion house founded by American designer Bill Blass. It is known for its highly priced, beautifully cut womenswear, notable for its inventive combinations of patterns and textures.
Designer Bill Blass began his New York fashion career in 1946. In 1970, after two decades of success in menswear and womenswear, he bought Maurice Rentner Ltd., which he had joined in 1959, and renamed it Bill Blass Limited. Over the next 30 years he expanded his line to include swimwear, furs, luggage, perfume, and chocolate. His fame and income grew, and by 1998 his company had grown to a $700-million-a-year business. In 1999 Blass sold Bill Blass Limited for $50 million and retired to his home in New Preston, Connecticut.
Bill Blass Limitedís head designer is currently Michael Vollbracht, who began working with Blass in 1999. Recent Bill Blass collections have received favorable critical reviews.
In February of 2007 Bill Blass Limited was acquired by NexCen Brands. Nexcen Brands announced on February 15, 2007 that they had completed a $54.6 million cash and stock acquisition of the company.
Most sales come from some 30 licenses for items such as furniture, eyewear, and accessories. Blass, who retired in 2000 and died in 2002, sold the firm in 1999 to its jeanswear licensee, The Resource Club, and CEO Michael Groveman. NexCen Brands acquired Bill Blass for about $54 million in early 2007.
In 2007, Peter Som was named Creative Director for the womenís division and Michael Bastian for the menís division. The designers will continue to maintain the design precedent established by Bill Blas himself while infusing the brand with their own aesthetic and a fresh perspective.
Bill Blass was best known as a designer of American daywear. He took traditional garments such as jackets and softened the lines, creating a more fluid, less severe design. His suits were tailored by curves to imitate the female body. Even his most structured garments were softened by gentle bends at the hem, lapels or fastenings. Blass was inventive in his mixing of textures and patterns. He used tweeds and shirtingís, often with a splash of colour, or a bright frill of lace or fur trim. His use of ruffles has been particularly effective.
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