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Bill Blass

American, 1922-2002

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.

Find vintage Bill Blass fashion on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$867
Bill Blass 1980s Vintage Red & Navy Lycra Faux Pocket Gold Button Swimsuit
By Bill Blass
Located in KENT, GB
Product details: Bill Blass - Red Seersucker Lycra Swimsuit - Gold Button Detail - x 2 Front Faux Pockets - Navy Plain Lycra Knicker Label: Bill Blass Era: c.1980 Fabric Content: Lyc...
Category

1980s Bill Blass

Bill Blass Salmon Pink Button Up Uniform Suit Dress, 1990s
By Bill Blass
Located in Los Angeles, CA
1990s Bill Blass Salmon Pink Button Up Suit Dress Made in China Size Label 4 Measurements (taken flat): Shoulders - seam to seam: 22" Sleeve - shoulder seam to sleeve hem: 4.25" Arm...
Category

1990s Bill Blass

Bill Blass For Bonwit Teller Safari Shirt Jacket
By Bill Blass
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Bill Blass For Bonwit Teller Safari Shirt Jacket 1970's vibrant blue polish cotton shirt jacket with four front pockets and round wooden buttons. Measurements: 29 1/2 inches front ...
Category

1970s Bill Blass

Bill Blass for Neiman Marcus Brown/White Silk Chemise Dress NWT Plus Size 18
By Bill Blass for Neiman Marcus, Bill Blass
Located in Palm Springs, CA
Such a chic classic silk chemise designed by the late Bill Blass. NWT. (never worn) Purchased at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills. Retailed for $2100. Rare size 18. The modern silk print ...
Category

1990s Bill Blass

Bill Blass Warm Browns and Ivory "Multi Profile" Silk Scarf
By Bill Blass
Located in New York, NY
Bill Blass "Limited Edition" wonderfully detailed in warm shades of browns and ivory "Multi Profile" silk jacquard scarf is accented with hand-rolled edges. Made in Italy. Sma...
Category

1980s Bill Blass

Bill Blass Striped Sequined Top
By Bill Blass
Located in New York, NY
Bill Blass, sequins, on chiffon, pastel toned, striped top having a jeweled neckline, narrow silhouette, and long sleeves. Top ends above the hip with a back zipper closure.
Category

1990s Bill Blass

Vintage Bill Blass Beaded Black Long Sheer Evening Skirt W Sequins & Beads
By Bill Blass
Located in Portland, OR
This stunning vintage Bill Blass sheer black silk skirt is beautifully beaded and has sequins throughout. The sequins are a silver and gold mix and the beads are black. The skirt has...
Category

1990s Bill Blass

Bill Blass for Maurice Rentner Mod Metallic Zigzag Stripes Coat Dress, 1960s
By Bill Blass
Located in Boca Raton, FL
This magnificent metallic coat dress dates back to the Sixties, when an up-and-coming Bill Blass was still designing for Maurice Rentner, the decades-old American label he would even...
Category

1960s Bill Blass

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Bill Blass Sellers

Brent Amerman
5.0
Fuchsia Treasures Corps
4.8
Sielian's Vintage Apparel
5.0
Thrifted + Modern
5.0
The Paper Bag Princess
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Torso Vintages
4.9
Palm Beach Vintage
5.0

Bill Blass fashion for sale on 1stDibs

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Bill Blass fashion on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of red, orange, purple and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers interested in this designer might also find the work of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Lanvin Paris and Geoffrey Beene appealing. Find designer, vintage and haute couture fashion from top boutiques around the world on 1stDibs. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $95 and tops out at $8,300, while the average work can sell for $795. ....
Questions About Bill Blass
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    To 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, 2022
    Bill 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.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Bill 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, 2022
    Bill 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, 2022
    No, 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.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    No, 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.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    No, 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, 2022
    No — 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.

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