Venerated designer and philanthropist Bill Blass helped define style for women of means during the late 20th century and inspired generations of fashion industry professionals and enthusiasts all over the world.
Blass designed garments that saw a playful mingling of notes both subdued and bold, and his clothes were comfortable, easy to wear and sexy. The Indiana native was influenced by the likes of Coco Chanel and became famous for refined, simple looks that appealed to prominent women such as Brooke Astor and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Blass didn’t endeavor to produce showstoppers — he worked with quality materials, and his modern designs boasted meticulous tailoring. He glamourized sportswear with chic lines and dramatic colors, and by way of subtle, graceful ruffles or a tasteful application of sequins, he introduced modest flair to his day dresses and evening dresses. Vintage Bill Blass clothing is just as relevant today as it was during the height of his career.
Blass, who spent his spare time sketching red-carpet looks in his school notebooks as a kid, left home at 17 and moved to New York City, where he trained at the McDowell School of Fashion. After finishing design school, he joined the U.S. Army and fought in World War II. When the war was over, Blass returned to Manhattan. In 1946 he joined the fashion house Anna Miller and Co., where he worked as a design assistant for Anna Miller and her brother Maurice Rentner.
Anna Miller and Co. merged with Maurice Rentner, Ltd. in 1959, and Blass became the company's head designer. There he quickly built a name for himself and was soon a staple of the postwar fashion scene, impressing even the fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar at the time, Diana Vreeland. Blass expanded into designing menswear and was the first couture designer in America to create a collection for men.
In 1970, Blass gained ownership of Rentner and renamed the company after himself. Blass employed a licensing-based business strategy, and soon his name marked a full array of accessories and apparel, including Bill Blass jeans, watches, home furnishings, eyewear and luggage. Blass's renown and success expanded considerably, as fashion bearing his name became more accessible than it had ever been.
Throughout his life, Blass made considerable contributions to the AIDS care center at Cornell Medical Center and to the New York Public Library. In 1962, he became a founding member of the Council of Fashion Designs of America (CFDA) trade association, which promotes American designers around the world. The CFDA presented Blass with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and he was the first recipient of their Humanitarian Leadership Award in 1996.
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- Is Bill Blass still making clothing?2 Answers1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022No, Bill Blass no longer makes clothing and many of the accessories it was known for, such as patterned scarves. As of December 2021, the brand's offerings include only bags and shoes. However, you can buy vintage Bill Blass apparel from reputable online platforms. You'll find a collection of Bill Blass on 1stDibs.1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No — as of early 2022, Bill Blass clothing is no longer in production, but footwear and bags can be found on the brand’s official website. Older Bill Blass garments can be found at flea markets and on websites that specialize in the sales of vintage apparel and accessories. Always purchase Bill Blass clothing from a reputable seller to ensure authenticity. Browse a selection of authentic Bill Blass garments on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, at this time Bill Blass scarves are no longer in production. However, enterprising shoppers can find vintage options in thrift stores and on certain online platforms. Always purchase Bill Blass garments from a reputable seller to ensure authenticity. Browse a selection of authentic Bill Blass scarves on 1stDibs.
- Where do I buy Bill Blass clothing?2 Answers1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022To buy Bill Blass clothing, you'll need to shop for vintage pieces, as the brand no longer produces apparel. Reputable online platforms are likely the best places to shop, as brick-and-mortar vintage clothing stores may not always have Bill Blass pieces available. You'll find a collection of Bill Blass on 1stDibs.1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Bill Blass clothing can be purchased through various authorized retailers as well as on the brand’s official website. Always purchase Bill Blass garments from a reputable seller to ensure authenticity. Shop a large collection of authentic Bill Blass from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- Who is Bill Blass?2 Answers1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022Bill Blass was a fashion designer who launched his own brand in 1970. He was born on June 22, 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and died on June 12, 2022, in New Preston, Connecticut. You can find a collection of Bill Blass apparel on 1stDibs.1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Bill Blass is an American fashion designer widely credited as a pioneer of the relaxed and elegant look favored in the late 20th century. Blass was one of the first American designers to print his name on his designs, and his collections of menswear and women’s wear expanded to include other items and accessories over the years. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1987. Shop a wide range of Bill Blass pieces from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, at this time Bill Blass underwear styles are no longer in production. However, many secondhand options for clothing and footwear are still available to purchase, and new items can be found on the brand’s official website as well as by way of authorized retailers. Always purchase Bill Blass garments from a reputable seller to ensure authenticity. Browse a selection of authentic Bill Blass clothing on 1stDibs.