NEW YORK — Another day, another development at Bill Blass.
This story first appeared in the July 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Blass’ women’s wear creative director, Peter Som, and NexCen Brands Inc. appear to have come to a solution — even if that could just be a short-term Band-Aid.
On Monday, the beleaguered parent company of Bill Blass issued a statement, saying: “NexCen has confirmed that Peter Som, creative director of Bill Blass women’s wear, has not resigned, and in lieu of a runway show, will be presenting a spring 2009 collection to retailers only. NexCen very much looks forward to working with Peter as his continued creative direction during this period of transition is important to the future of the brand and its sales process.”
The company would not elaborate on the statement, which left one crucial point open — whether Som will continue to design for Blass after the spring presentation.
“Peter is committed to staying at Bill Blass for now and completing the spring 2009 collection,” said Elana Posner, Som’s business partner. “We are hoping that the right buyer will come along and the sale of the brand will be resolved soon. We believe in the partnership, but the future will depend on so many undetermined factors.”
Issues between Som and Blass’ owners have been brewing for a while, and cash-strapped NexCen has struggled to support the Collection business and pay some of the talent Som has brought in to turn his efforts into a success. That, however, could change should NexCen be able to sell the Blass brand to a company that is willing to support Som’s designs. As reported, Som would remain on board should NexCen be able to sell the brand to the right firm. Among those said to be interested in the Blass brand are Windsong Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital, as well as Blass jeanswear licensee Designer Licensing Holdings, Iconix Brand Group and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.
NexCen is said to be close to a deal, which could explain the lack of clarity regarding Som’s future at the brand. Som could not be reached for comment Monday.