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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.

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Designer: Bill Blass
Dealer: Torso Vintages
1980s Bill Blass Stylized Gold Lame Leopard Evening Sarong Style Skirt Suit
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass Stylized Gold Lame Leopard Evening Sarong Style Skirt Suit: Beautiful, exotic and extravagant signature Blass piece for your New Year extravaganza. Lined in red silk...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1990 Bill Blass Persimmon Silk Crepe Column Gown w Asymmetrical Neckline Detail
By Bill Blass for Neiman Marcus, Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1990s Bill Blass Persimmon Silk Crepe Column Gown w Asymmetrical Neckline Detail: Elegant, long and lean this classic American Beauty features a side slit and back zipper and is full...
Category

1990s American Bill Blass

1990s Bill Blass 2 Tone Silk Charmeuse Dress In Mauve and Burnished Gold
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A gorgeous 1990s Bill Blass 2-tone silk charmeuse dress in mauve and burnished gold: Bias cut with buttons down the side, this beautiful dress features a burnished gold satin side-s...
Category

1990s American Bill Blass

1960 Bill Blass Documented Floral Print Silver Brocade Gown W/Rhinestone Belt
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1960 Bill Blass Documented Floral Print Silver Brocade Gown W/Rhinestone Belt. Wild botanical print border design is stunning! Beige silk taffeta lining, large balloon sleeves w/ broad cuffs. Rhinestone buckle belt with a full long maxi skirt...
Category

1960s American Bill Blass

1980 Bill Blass Black Silk Crepe One-Shoulder Gown w/ Lace Skirt and Fuchsia Bow
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A fantastic late 1970s to 1980 Bill Blass black silk crepe one-shoulder evening gown with a black lace flared skirt. At hip is a wide band of fuchsia silk taffeta side-slung structur...
Category

1970s American Bill Blass

1980 Bill Blass Matisse Print Silk Chiffon Overlay & Matching Shift Dress Set
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass beautiful Matisse-inspired floral print silk cocktail dress with matching silk chiffon overlay. This 2-piece ensemble is cut in a 1920s shift style and is sooooo chi...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Leopard Brocade Lamé Cigarette Pants
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A spectacular 1980s Bill Blass leopard patterned silk lamé cigarette pant. Very fitted and lean. Center back zipper. Pants fit a US size medium/large....
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1990 Bill Blass Butter Yellow Cotton Twill & Navy Blue French Lace Mini Dress
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1990s Bill Blass butter yellow cotton twill strapless cocktail dress with gorgeous French navy blue lace overlay: Bodice is quite structured for superb shaping and security, having ...
Category

1990s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Evening Jacket W/ Heavily Encrusted Chain Embriodery Gold Work
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A stunning 1980s Bill Blass evening jacket of traditional Indian inspiration. Heavily encrusted all over with chain embroidery gold work. Imported fabric. Gold roping at hems and cuf...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

Bill Blass Silk Lame Op-Art Leopard Print Long Skirt and Suit Jacket, 1980s
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
An exciting 1980s Bill Blass silk lame op-art leopard print long skirt and suit jacket set: The leopard print is shot through with a rainbow of neon colors in the eyes of the leopar...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Tiger Print Stenciled Calf Fur Pencil Skirt
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass tiger-stenciled calf fur pencil skirt. Inner grosgrain waistband. Fully lined and fabulous!
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

Related Items
Stunning Vintage Bill Blass Lipstick Red Strapless Silk Mermaid Dress / Gown
By Bill Blass
Located in San Diego, CA
Stunning vintage Bill Blass red silk Mermaid dress! Vibrant liptick red color, with intriicate stitching, which produce an unbelievable sexy fit! Su...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

Celine Wrap Bodycon Dress
By Celine
Located in Water Mill, NY
A fabulous red jersey dress from Celine. It has a wide V neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and a wrapped ruched bodice. The dress is semi fitted through ...
Category

Early 2000s French Bill Blass

Paco Rabanne Silver Foil Grid Mini Dress US Size 8
By Paco Rabanne
Located in Nice, FR
PACO RABANNE white mini dress with silver foil grid. Top surface is silver foil printed creating a metallic chain mail effect on a white knit spandex base. Slips on. Hook neck clos...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Bill Blass

Vintage 1970 Courreges Hyperbole Orange Wool Space-Age Sleeveless Mod Mini Dress
By André Courrèges, Courrèges
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
Vibrant and rare-to-find bright orange André Courrèges dress dating back to the early 1970's. Courreges launched his Space-Age collection in 1964. The ...
Category

1970s French Bill Blass

Vintage 1991 Dolce & Gabbana Documented Runway Studded Black Leather Mini Dress
By Dolce & Gabbana
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
An ultra seductive and well-documented Dolce & Gabbana silver studded black leather mini dress dating back to their 1991 spring/summer collect...
Category

1990s Italian Bill Blass

Gorgeous 1950s 50s Lipstick Red Demi Couture Silk Brocade Cocktail Dress
Located in San Diego, CA
Stunning 1950s vintage lipstick red DEMI COUTURE silk brocade dress! Floral brocade throughout with a wonderful chiffon overlay skirt. Mostly hand sewn. ...
Category

1950s Bill Blass

Leonard 1970 grey pink white floral button up pussy bow tie neck silk maxi dress
By Leonard Fashion
Located in Paris, FR
Leonard 1970's vintage button up maxi dress in water coloured grey with gradient pink, white and orange floral print Composed of soft silk jersey Pus...
Category

1970s French Bill Blass

Vicky Tiel Paris 1980's Gold Lizard Silk Lame Evening Gown
By Vicky Tiel
Located in New York, NY
Stunning Vicky Tiel 1980's gold silk lame evening gown, size FR 42. The glamorous gown features draped dolman sleeves, removable shoulder pads with s...
Category

Late 20th Century French Bill Blass

1990s Versace Versus Black Silk Cocktail Dress
By Donatella Versace, Versace
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
Sexy 1990s Versus Versace black silk sheer dress with eyelash fringe sheath dress. Bust: 32" / hip: 33"
Category

1990s Italian Bill Blass

Thierry Mugler Dress with Pointed Collar and Cuffs 1980s
By Thierry Mugler
Located in Water Mill, NY
A fabulous detailed red dress from master designer Thierry Mugler. It has a blouson bodice with long cuffed sleeves and a standup collar both beautiful...
Category

1980s French Bill Blass

Evening dress in silver lurex moire with bow and rhinestone brooch Mike Benet
Located in Saint-Ouen-Sur-Seine, FR
Evening dress in silver lurex moire with bow and rhinestone brooch. Pink rayon lining. Backless. SIZE S
Category

1970s American Bill Blass

Vintage Red Silk Long-Sleeve Wiggle Dress
Located in New York, NY
This Cheongsam-inspired silk wiggle dress is such a beautiful statement. Made in the 1980s by a New York-based label, it features a high mandarin-collar mockneck, and such a svelte s...
Category

1980s Bill Blass

  • Vintage Red Silk Long-Sleeve Wiggle Dress
  • Vintage Red Silk Long-Sleeve Wiggle Dress
  • Vintage Red Silk Long-Sleeve Wiggle Dress
  • Vintage Red Silk Long-Sleeve Wiggle Dress
Size: see description for sizing
Previously Available Items
1980 Bill Blass Black & White Sequin Button Jacket & Silk Print Wide Leg Pant
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass black and white whimsical mixed-print pants and jacket ensemble originally purchased at Nan Duskin: Jacket is a graphic button pattern completely covered in sequins...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980 Bill Blass Pink Silk Organza Mini Dress W/Chunky Pearl Strands & Bow
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass bias-cut pink silk organza trapeze mini dress with chunky pearl strands and silk satin bow closure at back: Fabulous! Fully lined. Zipper at back. Fits up to a size...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1970 Bill Blass Ombré Polka Dot Silk Chiffon Gown in Taupe and Pink
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A slinky, gorgeous 1970s Bill Blass ombre polka-dot silk chiffon gown: A beautiful taupe to pink ombre 4-layer flowing skirt with a spaghetti strap bo...
Category

1970s American Bill Blass

1980 Bill Blass Black Gazar Wrap Shoulder & Mint Crepe Gown With Fishtail Hem
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass mint crepe gown with black gazar wrap bodice and shoulders: sleeves and bodice give the illusion of a silk wrap about the shoulders and are wired for structure and v...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Hand Tinted Snakeskin Jacket W/ Sable Fur Cuffs & Neckline
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A 1980s Bill Blass hand-tinted snakeskin jacket trimmed in Sable fur at cuffs and entire neckline. No closures. Completely silk lined.
Category

1990s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Silk Charmeuse Plunging Wrap Dress w/ Fox Fur Cuffs and Hat
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A sexy 1980s Bill Blass silk charmeuse wrap dress: slight shoulder pads, deep plunging décolletage with buttons at waist of matching belt. curved front hem. Inner grosgrain waistband. Black fox fur cuffs...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1960s Bill Blass "Patchwork" Style African-Inspired Coat Dress
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A fantastic 1960s Bill Blass for Bond Street cotton African-inspired batik print jacket in brown, black purple and lavender. Large white lucite bubbl...
Category

1960s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Silk Floral Print Strapless Pouf Dress
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
Fabulous 1980s Bill Blass strapless silk floral print pouf dress. Back zipper and stays.
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Yellow Silk Halter Pouf Dress with Checkered Trim
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
1980s Bill Blass Summer party dress: Halter-style in yellow silk with full gathered skirt and large cuffed patch pockets. Lined in yellow organza. Button up front. Bias-cut check...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Black Lace and Chartreuse Satin Cocktail Dress in a 1950s Style
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A fun 1980s Bill Blass cocktail dress in a 1950s style: Black lace bodice lined in beige chiffon. Back button closure. Wide satin belt with front bow. Chartreuse silk satin circle ...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Zebra Stenciled Genuine Calf Hide Pencil Skirt
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
A fabulous 1980s Bill Blass pencil skirt: Fully lined, zebra stenciled genuine calf hide skirt with waistband and zip.
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

1980s Bill Blass Painted and Rhinestone Embellished Snakeskin Jacket
By Bill Blass
Located in Gresham, OR
This is a standout 1980s Bill Blass snakeskin jacket: collarless with button closures, handpainted in pinks, purples and mauve and encrusted with sca...
Category

1980s American Bill Blass

Bill Blass fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Bill Blass fashion available on 1stDibs. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Geoffrey Beene, Pauline Trigère, and Donna Karan appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Bill Blass fashion from top boutiques around the world. Bill Blass fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $1,350 and tops out at $2,950, while the average work can sell for $1,950.
Questions About Bill Blass
  • 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 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.
  • 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
    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.

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