The Stuart Goldblatt era at Bill Blass has ended.
On Tuesday, the Doneger Group said that Goldblatt, who had been president and chief operating officer of Bill Blass Group since 2014, will join the company in the newly created position of senior vice president of business development.
Goldblatt told WWD that he had left Blass in the middle of June. “I had a two-year contract and I brought the brand to market, launched e-commerce, worked on retail distribution and opened a pop-up in Bloomingdale’s. I got the organization up and running. Now it’s in good hands with Chris [Benz, creative director], and Kelly [DeMeester, business director] and the board.”
Calls and e-mails to Bill Blass about whether or not Goldblatt had been replaced and who was now helming the company went unreturned.
At Doneger, Goldblatt will work with the company’s senior executives to develop strategies to drive growth, said Abbey Doneger, president and chief executive officer.
“I’ve known Stuart for over 20 years,” he said. “I like him, respect him, he’s smart, a good retailer, merchant and leader. With his extensive industry knowledge, he will play an integral role in our growth.”
He said Goldblatt, who has more than 35 years experience in retail and merchandising and spent 15 years with Macy’s Inc. as executive vice president of merchandising for the private brands group and senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s, young men’s, boys’ and children’s, will relocate from the New York area to California and work out of Doneger’s office there.
Goldblatt said it is a “lifelong dream” for him to move to California, where two of his children live, and he’s eager to “take what exists at Doneger, make it better and bigger and secure more opportunities for them.” He starts at Doneger officially next week.
Goldblatt joined Bill Blass in September 2014 to relaunch the label of the designer, who died in 2002. The label has gone through many changes since Blass sold the company three years before his death to Michael Groveman for $50 million. It changed hands again in 2007, with NexCen Brands buying the business for $54.6 million in cash and stock. The next year, NexCen sold it to Peter and Bill Kim, the owners of Peacock International Holdings, a men’s dress shirt and neckwear company, its current owners.
The label has also gone through several designers, starting with Steve Slowik, the first to succeed Blass, followed by Lars Nilsson, Michael Vollbracht, Peter Som, Michael Bastian and Jeffrey Monteiro. Chris Benz took over the design duties in October 2014.The Kims spent two years pulling back licenses, copyrights and trademarks as they prepared to relaunch in the spring 2016 as an e-commerce play.