By  on May 30, 2007

NEW YORK — While most of Seventh Avenue was settling in Tuesday after the holiday weekend, Bill Blass executives faced the pressing task of finding a replacement for Michael Vollbracht, who resigned last week.

The search is on, but management has not yet decided whether Vollbracht's successor will come from within or outside the company, according to Jean Claude Huon, vice president of Bill Blass couture.

"We're working on it. We don't know if it will come from the inside or the outside. We will have an announcement in the very near future," he said. "It was very surprising for all of us that Michael decided to leave so soon."

Huon declined to be more specific about the expected time frame for naming a replacement.

Vollbracht exited after a four-year run with the company. His assistant designer, Prabal Gurung, remains there.

Reached by phone Friday, Vollbracht said he did not have any idea who would take over his former post of creative director and designer. Of the three men who had that position — Steven Slowick and Lars Nilsson are the others — following Blass' death in 2002, Vollbracht was the only one who had worked with the company's namesake.

In the meantime, the September runway show during New York Fashion Week "will absolutely not be affected," Huon added.

Whoever is tapped will continue with what Vollbracht was working on for the spring collection, since he had already determined the season's inspiration, Huon said.

Holding a resort runway show was not planned for the upcoming season, so that is not a factor. That collection has already been completed. "Resort is ready and we feel very comfortable with it," Huon said.

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