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Bill Blass Ready-to-Wear in Danger of Demise

Bill Blass, spring 2009.

NexCen is trying to sell Bill Blass, but it might not be able to make the ready-to-wear line designed by Peter Som part of the deal. Som’s line is known as Bill Blass Couture, but Bill Blass as a whole would be more profitable without Couture — that arm of the brand loses more than $1 million a year. If NexCen can’t sell Couture, rumor has it they won’t keep the business going. But if Couture’s not included in the sale of the label, the new owner could take the line in a different direction — a (gasp) down-market direction, which could be more profitable.

However, Bill Blass president Craig Hoffman told WWD, “Bill Blass Couture is an essential component of the Bill Blass brand and NexCen is supporting Couture so that it operates at the highest level of quality.” And if a buyer didn’t want Som’s ready-to-wear line as part of the deal, would NexCen sustain it? “I don’t think we know the answer to that. We’d have to evaluate that with a new buyer when that materializes.” Damn. We thought it was sad when we learned Som would do a presentation for retailers this season instead of a runway show (probably because they’re too broke for one), but this is so much worse. What if Som’s spring 2009 collection is the last of Blass RTW? You may recall Anna Wintour reportedly convinced Som not to resign from Blass in July for the sake of the label. We’d love to see Anna put her cape on and swoop in and save it again. So, André Leon Talley, if you’re still borrowing it, you better give it back.

NexCen May Shutter Bill Blass RTW Unit
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Peter Som Stays On at Bill Blass, Even Though It Can’t Afford Him

Bill Blass Ready-to-Wear in Danger of Demise