Bill Blass Couture closed Friday and laid off all of its 60-plus employees without any severance.
Staffers spent most of Friday packing up and saying goodbye. Hardest hit were the more than 20 sewers and workers who first punched the clock when the company’s namesake called the shots for decades, including some who were with Blass on his opening day in 1970.
“It’s been a crying-fest up here,” said one employee. “I never wanted to go through something like this again.”
Management at parent company NexCen Brands Inc. spread the word last week, but did not commit to severance. Some were told they may be eligible down the road, a Bill Blass staffer said.
A few former Bill Blass staffers speculated Sunday that any severance may be contingent on the sale of the Bill Blass brand and its ready-to-wear component. NexCen is said to be negotiating a deal to sell Bill Blass to Peacock, a company that specializes in men’s neckties, and is eager to finalize one by the end of the year, due to financial incentives established by an undisclosed bank.
NexCen executives declined comment Sunday. However, last week they confirmed talks were under way with more than one non-financial company.
Rather than hope for the best, the displaced Bill Blass workers planned to collect unemployment immediately, according to sources at the company.
Highlighting how strapped the company is, sources noted that NexCen plans to sell the no-longer-needed office furniture in Bill Blass’ Seventh Avenue showroom.
With his debonair style and steadfast support from well-heeled friends and longtime clients, Blass built the company into a multilicensed enterprise, with $500 million in annual sales in the late Eighties and early Nineties. That is a far cry from recent sales, which were said to be $500,000.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)