American sportswear legend Bill Blass created his own brand in 1970 and brought chic, wearable clothes to a certain kind of fashionable, very American woman. He passed away at the age of 80 in 2002, but for the past six years his namesake company has carried on with both Michael Vollbracht and most recently the talented Peter Som at the helm.
Their shows have been classic and quite pretty – just imagine yourself walking into a party in one Spring 2008's frocks – but all good things must end and, after decades in the business, Bill Blass is finally saying adieu.
It was a brand that embodied a feminine woman who respected expert tailoring and high class ladies like Gloria Vanderbilt, Nancy Reagan and Candice Bergen were devoted fans. Those names kind of sum up the feel of the brand; it was admittedly a little stuffy, a little bit elite and buttoned up (though Som did infuse it with some girlish charms later), but that traditional style and class is also what makes the clothing so timeless. If you find a choice vintage piece of Blass, it's bound to be both wearable and quite special.
While it's sad to think of old William Ralph Bass turning over in his grave fretting about the rough new world of corporate take overs, subsequent squandering of acquired businesses, and the terrible pre-holiday layoffs of his entire staff (without severance), he can take solace in the fact that he left behind a dignified empire of American style… before other people ruined it.?