Blass, Bill (1922—)

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Blass, Bill (1922—)

Bill Blass was the first American designer to emerge from the shadow of manufacturers and establish his name with authority. From a base in womenswear design, Blass achieved a collateral success in menswear with "Bill Blass for PBM" in 1968, another first for an American. Blass then used licensing to expand his brand name globally in a range of products from menswear to automobiles and even to chocolates at one point. A shrewd observer of European style, Blass used his talent to define American fashion, creating separates for day and evening; sportswear with active sports as inspiration; and the mix and match that allows customers to compose an individual and chic style on their own. Blass was one of the first designers to come out of the backroom of design, mingle with clients, and become famous in his own right. To many, Blass is known as the "dean of American fashion."

—Richard Martin

Further Reading:

Daria, Irene. The Fashion Cycle. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Milbank, Caroline Rennolds. New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style. New York, Abrams, 1989.

Morris, Bernadine, and Barbara Walz. The Fashion Makers. New York, Random House, 1978.