The Creator of Classic American daywear, Bill Blass
“Bill” Blass, or William Ralph Blass was born in Indiana in 1922. When Bill was only five years old, his father committed suicide. He only had one sister and a mother who made dresses. Despite his difficult child hood, he was determined to be a successful clothing designer. His mother’s creativity inspired the young boy to be the best. While he was in school, he spent a lot of time drawing sketches in his notebooks. He even designed the B logo that would become an important part of his brand. And by the time that he was fifteen, he was selling his dresses for 25$. This was a lot of money during the time, and allowed him to save up enough money to go to school for fashion. Two years later, he made a life-changing move to study in Manhattan and his life would never be the same again.
When Bill was around 20 years old, he enlisted in the United States Army. The unit that he was in was responsible for coming up with decoys. They were supposed to trick the Germans into thinking that they were in a certain location, when they really were not. He contributed to the troop by offering a lot of creativity. After he returned from fighting, he worked with the designer Anne Klein for a short amount of time. A fun fact is that she let him go because she didn’t think that he was talented enough. In 1949, he started working with the designer Anne Miller. During this time, Blass made good friends with Missy Weston. He hired her to model and they went to all of the hot parties together. While he was at Anne Miller, he came up with his own personal style. He was especially known for making clothes that were suitable for everyday wear, yet still looked glamorous. He took classic sport wear pieces and transformed them into sophisticated and stylish creations.
Bill returned from serving in the army and he was ready to start a successful career in fashion. He worked hard to get to the top. And after working in New York for a little over two decades, he came out with the brand Bill Blass Limited. He was especially famous amongst classy and well-rounded women, including former first lady’s Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan. He was a diverse designer that believed in catering to his client’s needs. Bill is also known for creating classic American daywear looks. He would take a standard item, such as a suit jacket, and alter it so that it looked more casual. Bill was also one of the best designers when it came to mixing and matching materials.
One of Bill Blass’s clients was Ford Motor Company. He collaborated with the popular car brand in order to create the interior and exterior color combinations for an edition of Continental Mark series of automobiles. This encouraged the designer to venture out into new industries and try out new things. The Bill Blass fragrance was released in February of 2007. It was exclusively sold at Saks Fifth Avenue stores that were located in the United States. Later on in the year, the fragrance was sold at Saks Fifth Avenues internationally.
In 2000, Bill was tragically diagnosed with a form of tongue cancer. In the same year, he was honored with a bronze plaque in New York City’s “Fashion Walk of Fame”. Two years later, Bill died shortly before his 80th birthday. The tongue cancer had progressed into throat cancer and he passed away in his Connecticut home. Shortly before he passed away, he wrote a biography about his life as a fashion designer and business mogul. Although he managed to finish his biography, he was not alive when it was published. However, it was well received by critics and given rave reviews.