William Ralph 'Bill' Blass (June 22, 1922 June 12, 2002) was an American fashion designer, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is known for his tailoring and his innovative combinations of textures and patterns. He is the recipient of many fashion awards, including seven Coty Awards and the Fashion Institute of Technology's Lifetime Achievement Award (1999). Bill Blass, born William Ralph Blass in 1922, was the only son of Ralph Aldrich Blass, a traveling hardware salesman who committed suicide when his son was five years old, and his wife, the former Ethyl Easter Keyser (died 1952), a dressmaker. He had one sister, Virginia Mae (born 1920). In his autobiography Blass wrote that the margins in his school books were filled with sketches of Hollywood-inspired fashions instead of notes. At fifteen, he began sewing, selling evening gowns for $25 each to a New York manufacturer. At 17 he had saved up enough money to move to Manhattan and study fashion.
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