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Bill Blass
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    (June 22, 1922-June 12, 2002)
    Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Founded Bill Blass Limited (1970)
    Expanded from womens and menswear to furs, perfume, luggage, chocolate and a limited edition of the Lincoln Continental
    Won the Fashion Institute of Technology's Lifetime Achievement Award (1999)
    Favorite designer of Nancy Reagan
    He said, 'Childhood bores the hell out of me. I think it bored me even as a child.'
    He affected a British accent.
    He was fired by designer Anne Klein, who said he had 'good manners but no talent.'
    In one of his less successful spin-offs, he licensed his name for a male crotch spray, 'Man's Other Deodorant.'
    He chain-smoked, which probably contributed to the oral and throat cancers that killed him.
    He titled his autobiography 'Bare Blass.'
    When he was five, his father committed suicide.
    He was the first man to win Mademoiselle's Design for Living award (1940).
    He served in the Army's 603rd Camouflage Battalion during World War II.
    Women's Wear Daily publisher John Fairchild said, 'Bill Blass was the gentleman of American fashion -- the perfect gentleman.'
    He did have limits on what he would put his name on, turning down offers to market coffins and dental braces.
    He donated $10 million to the New York Library (1994) and left half of his $52 million estate to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Credit: C. Fishel

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