NEW YORK — The Bill Blass saga continues.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

According to a source close to the negotiations, Peter Som, creative director at Bill Blass, is still working with NexCen Brands Inc. to determine the best way to proceed with the spring 2009 collection.

Contrary to reports, the source said Som can get out of his contract at any time, and his resignation last week did not come as a result of the decision to forego a runway show this September.

Issues between Som and Blass’ owners have been brewing for a while, with NexCen unable to financially support the line in the way Som envisions is required for a Collection business. According to sources, NexCen’s financial constraints has meant that much of the talent Som brought in hasn’t been paid in months.

Som himself is said to be upset at the situation, but willing to collaborate with NexCen to find a solution, which could involve a spring collection to be shown to retailers only in the company showroom. Som couldn’t be reached for comment.

The source believes that Som would “definitely” continue at Blass should NexCen be able to sell the brand to an owner that can support the business in a way that can make it a success.

As reported, the designer label has been on the selling block for months, a move prompted in part by angry shareholders at its cash-strapped parent NexCen. It is believed that NexCen is getting close to making a deal.

Windsong Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital are said to be looking at Blass. Arnold Simon’s Designer Licensing Holdings, the Blass jeanswear licensee and owner of 10 percent of the Blass trademark, is also reportedly interested, as are the Iconix Brand Group and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.

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