The late, great Bill Blass got his start under the famous Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, and in 1959 he rose to head designer of Maurice Rentner. Blass bought the company in 1970 and renamed it as his own—Bill Blass Limited. For the next three decades, the brand became synonymous with elegant sportswear, unfussy, glamorous clothes in luxurious materials that could transition from work to evening. Blass sold the company and retired in 1999, appointing Steven Slowik to usher in the house’s new era. Slowik was replaced in 2001 by Belgian designer Lars Nilsson, who was pushed out in 2003 for illustrator and Blass friend Michael Vollbracht. Former Blass assistant Peter Som was brought on as creative director of the Blass label in 2007, staying for little more than a year before leaving to focus on his namesake label in October 2008. A month later, the brand filed for bankruptcy, and by December 2008, menswear company Peacock International Holdings LLC picked up Blass ready-to-wear and couture divisions for a cool $10 million—less than half of what NexCen initially sought for the iconic brand.