Bill Blass Group

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Bill Blass Group
HeadquartersNew York, NY
Key people
Bill Blass - Founder and Chris Benz - Creative director
WebsiteBill Blass website

Bill Blass Group replaces what was formerly Bill Blass Limited, a fashion house founded by American designer Bill Blass. Chris Benz is the Creative Director of the group.

Bill Blass Limited[edit]

Designer Bill Blass began designing for Anna Miller in 1959, and his name began appearing on the label starting in 1960 after it merged with Maurice Rentner.[1] He renamed the company Bill Blass Limited.[2] after purchasing it in 1970,[3] after making a name for himself with Rentner.[4] This made him the first American designer to print his own name on his designs.[5] He also created the Blassport medium-priced fashion line in 1972.[6] Bill Blass Limited rose to prominence over the 1970s, being worn by individuals such as Jacqueline Kennedy to Gloria Vanderbilt.[7]

The line expanded to include swimwear, furs, luggage, perfume, and chocolate, and Miles Socha wrote of the company in 1998 that the company had allowed “42 licenses in a wide variety of products, from furniture and lamps to handbags and fragrances, generating about $800 million in annual retail sales.”[8] By this time, Blass considered retirement, and his last line as head of the company came with the Spring 2000 collection at New York City Fashion Week in September 1999.[9] He sold the company for $50 million in 2000.[5] From 2003 to 2007, Bill Blass Limited’s head designer was Michaele Vollbracht. He resigned as head designer in early 2007,[10] at about the same time as the company was acquired by Nexcen Brands in February 2007 through a $54.6 million cash and stock acquisition of the company.[11] According to Ellin Saltzman in The New York Times, "He took American sportswear to its highest level … giving it a clean, modern, impeccable style… He, probably more than any designer knew his customer and understood her."[12] Keystones of the brand identity include exuberant use of color, embellishment and the embodiment of the casual American spirit.

Bill Blass Group[edit]

Chris Benz pict w logo sm.jpg

Following the acquisition, Peter Som began designing Bill Blass womenswear and Michael Bastian would design the menswear line.[13] In December 2008 Peacock International Holdings, LLC, purchased Bill Blass Limited, now known as Bill Blass Group, LLC. Following the acquisition of the brand, Peacock stated that it had plans to revive the Bill Blass couture line, which had been discontinued a few months prior to the purchase.[14] The new head of the label would be Jeffrey Monteiro, who worked as head designer until 2012. Between the death of Blass and this point, six different designers had been hired and dismissed; the 2012 collections were cancelled upon Monteiro’s firing.[15][16]

In November 2014-2019, Chris Benz was appointed as Creative Director, as a part of a new rebranding effort.[7] Benz stated that “I have forever admired and have deep respect for [Blass] as an original American designer.”[17]


  1. ^ Barbara Perso Heinemann (2008). Fashioning an Artful Life: One Woman's Life History in Clothes. p. 118. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  2. ^ "Bill Bass Bio". FMD. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  3. ^ Kenneth T. Jackson; Lisa Keller & Nancy Flood (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition. Yale University Press. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Christopher Faircloth (2009). Cleveland's Department Stores. Arcadia Publishing. p. 67. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Francesca Sterlacci Purvin & Joanne Arbuckle (2007). Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Scarecrow Press. p. 23. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Mary Ellen Snodgrass (2015). World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence. Routledge. p. 68. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Lauren Milligan (October 20, 2014). "Chris Benz To Helm Bill Blass". Vogue. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Miles Socha (September 24, 1998). "BLASS IS BLACK -- IN JEANS". WWD. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Thomas J. Brady (September 18, 1999). "Bill Blass Shows Spring Line And Says It Is His Last, Really". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  10. ^ Lennie Bennett (February 28, 2009). "Michael Vollbracht's fashions are for women of a certain age, size and income". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Plunkett's Apparel & Textiles Industry Almanac 2008. Plunkett Research. 2008. p. 164. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Nemy, Enid (13 Jun 2002), "Bill Blass, Whose Clothes Gave Casual an Elegant Air, Dies at 79", The New York Times, pp. A1
  13. ^ Imran Amed (July 27, 2007). "Bill Blass: The Peter Som and Michael Bastian tag team". Business of Fashion. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Cheryl Tan (December 29, 2008). "Bill Blass's New Owner Plans to Revive Couture Line". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2014-12-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]