Bill Blass Firing Spree

This week in fashion news, the Bill Blass women’s design team headed by Jeffrey Monteiro was let go by the current company CEO. The nine person design team was let go Thursday and plans for a spring runway show have been canceled. Bill Blass, who died in 2002, purchased Maurice Rentner Ltd. in 1970 and Bill Blass Limited was born.

The brand is known for tailored pieces in innovative textures and patterns that are more wearable than other luxury brands. In the 30 years following the fashion house’s unveiling, the line expanded to include swimwear, furs, luggage, perfume, and chocolate, along with men’s and women’s clothing. In 1999, Bill Blass sold the company to its current CEO Michael Groveman and retired until his death.

The firing of the women’s design team is just the latest debacle the decades-old fashion house has had to deal with. Since Blass’s retirement, the company has gone through five different women’s designers, along with a public relations director who was designing a solo collection behind closed doors. Even though the company’s menswear sector is held in high regard in the fashion world and women’s division received favorable reviews in 2010, the women’s wear has been noticeably absent from major magazines.

The fate of the once iconic fashion house has fallen due the number of departures of designers from either being fired or quitting, which has caused a decline in high-end consumers and a shunning from several high-end retailers. With the collection mostly finished and everything in place before the firings, one wonders what will come out in the next few weeks about the real reasons Bill Blass’s womenswear is no more.

Written by: Nicole Risell

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