Bill Blass The Iconic Designer
Bill Blass, byname of William Ralph Blass was one of America’s most iconic designers. born in 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana he started sewing when he was 15, selling gowns and by 17 he saved up money to come to New York to pursue an education in fashion at Parsons School of Design.
Blass began his New York fashion career in 1945. He was a protégé of Baron de Gunzburg .
after two decades of success in menswear and womenswear, in 1970 he bought Maurice Rentner Ltd., which he had joined in 1959, and renamed it Bill Blass Limited. Over the next 30 years he expanded his line to include swimwear, furs, luggage, perfume, and chocolate. He was the first American couture fashion designer to start a men’s wear line. That part of his business grew to offer everything from ties, socks and belts to suits and evening clothes.
He quickly became part of a fashionable postwar scene that included Diana Vreeland, then a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and later the influential editor of American Vogue. He is best known to define the relaxed, pared-down elegance that would characterize American fashion in the late 20th century.
Blass made clothes that allowed women a modern sense of ease and comfort. He made sportswear, but he glamourized the concept by making clothes that possessed a new American casual chic sensibility, which he achieved by merging classic taste with luxurious materials.