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Bill Blass was born William Ralph Blass on June 22, 1922 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Blass attended Parsons School of Design at the age of 17. Roughly around the same time, Blass worked as a sketch artist for David Crystal, a Seventh Ave manufacturer. He served three years in the U.S. army during WWII. After the war, he returned to design, first working as an assistant with Anne Klein and ultimately finding work at Anna Miller and Co. in New York. Bill Blass became the head designer for Maurice Rentner in 1959, LTD, after the firm merged with Anna Miller and Co. 11 years later, Blass became sole owner of Rentner and renamed the company after himself. By this time, Blass had already won acclaim in the fashion industry, winning a Coty award in 1968 for his menswear designs. Bill Blass would go on to win two more Coty Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 and the Humanitarian Leadership Award in 1996. From 1979 to 1981, Blass served as the honorary president for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Bill Blass sold his business in 1999 for a rumoured $50 million. Bill Blass passed away at the age of 79 in 2002.