Bill Blass

Bill Blass

American fashion designer
Date of Birth: 22.06.1922
Country: USA

Content:
  1. Biography of Bill Blass
  2. Early Success
  3. Legacy
  4. Later Years and Legacy

Biography of Bill Blass

Bill Blass (full name William Ralph Blass) was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1922. He was one of two children of Ralph Aldrich Blass and Ethyl Keyser. When Bill was only 5 years old, his father, who worked for a tourist equipment company, committed suicide, leaving his mother Ethyl alone with Bill and his sister Virginia. Even in school, Bill had a fascination with the fashionable clothes worn by Hollywood stars. He would fill his notebooks with sketches of clothes he saw. At the age of 15, Bill started sewing dresses and selling them to a New York merchant for $25 each. By the time he was 17, he had saved enough money to move to Manhattan and pursue a career in fashion.

Bill Blass

Early Success

In just one year in New York, Bill achieved significant success. Within a year, he became the first man to win the 'Design for Living' award from Mademoiselle magazine. In 1942, Bill joined the 603rd Camouflage Battalion, where he worked on deceiving the enemy about the location of Allied forces. After returning to New York in 1946, Bill began his career as a fashion designer. He worked for various studios for over two decades until he had enough money to purchase Maurice Rentner Ltd in 1970. He renamed the studio 'Bill Blass Limited' and spent the next 30 years expanding his line of clothing and accessories.

Bill Blass

Legacy

By 1998, Bill Blass Limited had an annual turnover of $700 million. The clothing line became popular for its everyday wear, catering to the needs of ordinary women. Bill's designs elevated American sportswear to new heights. He understood his customers better than anyone else. In addition to clothing, Bill expanded his brand to include fragrances, swimwear, and even chocolates. From 1976 to 1989, Bill collaborated with Ford Motor Company on the unique design of the 'Continental Mark' cars.

Bill Blass

Later Years and Legacy

In 1999, Bill sold his company for $50 million to Michael Groveman, who had worked with him in the past. After the sale, Bill officially announced his retirement and moved to New Preston, Connecticut. He passed away on June 12, 2002, just six days after completing his memoir 'Bare Blass.' In his will, he donated more than half of his estate to real estate and several ancient artworks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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