American couture house Bill Blass is rumoured to be for sale. Since the designer retired in 1999, there have been rumours of unrest as the house went through four different designers in quick succession. The first to go was Yvonne Miller, who had previously been Blass’s muse and head of the public relations side of the business. After just one season she was replaced by Steven Slowik. He in turn was succeded by Lars Nilsson, who designed six collections before it was decided that he was not the right man for the job. Now it is Michael Vollbracht, Blass’ collaborator and friend, who is the house’s designer.
Women’s Wear Daily reported that industry insiders had noted that the chairman of Blass’s biggest licensee, Haresh T. Tharani of the The Resource Club Ltd, was looking to dispose of his 60 per cent equity stake in the house in order to invest in other ventures and grow his sleepwear business. Blass’s ceo, Michael Groveman, owns the remaining 40 per cent. Yesterday he admitted that he has heard these rumours but was unable to comment.