Bill Blass is an American legend. From the moment he arrived in New York from his native Indiana, a kid of seventeen with good looks and charm, he was determined to be a success in fashion. Today Bill Blass is a brand as much as an enduring symbol of American taste and style, his clothes setting a standard of upper-class American cool that other designers would follow. Yet very few designers are so connected to their times, so rich in wit and experience, as to be able to tell their personal story with any authority.
Bill Blass was at the intersection of American fashion and society for fifty years. He was the first designer to break out of the shabby backrooms of Seventh Avenue and be welcomed into the chic drawing rooms of New York; the first to put his name on a variety of products, including automobiles, and thereby expand his influence; and the first to travel extensively across this country, meeting and dressing women who were taste-makers in their towns. All that, and his friendships with such personalities as Cary Grant, Slim Keith, Nancy Reagan, Diana Vreeland, and, of course, the socialites he famously dressed, give him a unique perspective on American life and glamour.
With refreshing, unapologetic candor, and with more than eighty rarely seen photographs, Bare Blass reveals a complex human being whose character was hugely shaped by his Depression-era childhood and by his riveting experiences as a member of a secret army unit during the Second World War. It is a coming-of-age story, but more than that, Bare Blass is the story of an American original.
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The name Blass signifies the best-made clothes in America and appears on many products, including men's wear, bed linens, and blue jeans. Bill Blass Limited was founded in 1970, at 550 Seventh Avenue, where the business continues today. In his lifetime, Blass was the recipient of numerous industry and public service awards, and was a trustee of the New York Public Library. He began his long-awaited memoir, Bare Blass, in 2000 and completed it shortly before his death in June 2002.From Publishers Weekly:
New York Times fashion critic Horyn teamed up with quintessential American designer Blass to write this memoir in 1999. They finished it just weeks before his death on June 12 of this year. Nonlinear in format-Blass skips from telling of a 1949 prize he won for designing a gingham dress with a patent leather belt, to a 1971 fashion show in Fort Wayne, Ind., and then back to his role serving in the armed forces during WWII-the book has the feel of a scrapbook of memories, which is indeed delightful when one considers the colorful life Blass led. Originally from the Midwest, he moved to New York at age 17 and eventually became one of fashion's biggest names. Written in the first person and peppered with snapshots of Blass with Pat Buckley, Nancy Kissinger, Nancy Reagan, Gloria Vanderbilt and others, Blass's memoir is at once a tribute to the designer and, as he writes, "a typical American success story."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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