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.
@moncler unveiled its latest project, #MonclerGenius, yesterday at Milan Fashion Week. The Italian outwear maker gave show-goers a preview of the monthly collections – which were created by eight designers and creative talents including Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha, Craig Green and more – that will start rolling out in the summer.
In honor of Rihanna’s 30th birthday, we took a look back at an interview with the Barbados-native when she was just 18 years old. Here, she talked about her second album, “A Girl Like Me” in 2006. “I want to be me. I want people to fall in love with who Rihanna is, and that’s why I want the album to be about me so people can really find out who this girl Rihanna is, because they only know the ‘Pon de Replay’ girl.” Fast forward 12 years, and she’s released six more albums and has become a powerhouse in both the fashion and music industries. Happy birthday, @badgalriri 🎈(📷: Pavel Antonov) #wwdarchive