He created decades of beautiful clothes - suits, ensembles, day dresses, bathing suits, and evening gowns inspired by the glamorous bias-cut dresses of the 1930s - and he won several Coty awards. In the 1970s he was particularly well known for his smart pants and blazer ensembles, but he also rolled out a line of cocktail dresses in 1975 when his clients complained that they didn't have anything to wear for evening.
In the 1980s, like many designers, he franchised out his name in several licensing agreements. (I'm pretty sure, for example, that ole' Bill did not himself design my thrift store Bill Blass khaki cargo pants...)
I am sure this is NOT a licensee dress, but rather came from Blass's own workrooms. It is from Bergdorf, it has a 1970s style tag, and the workmanship is couture quality - neck and arm facings are carefully turned and stitched by hand, and some of the interior seaming is hand finished. (See photo #4 for tags and a small peek at the hand stitching of one of the facings. There is also a hand-written 699; I suspect this dress originally retailed for $699.)
It is really lovely; I imagine Bill Blass must have been thinking of flapper girls when he created this dress, with a little art deco geometry thrown in. (I love the way the vertical lines of the bodice become the pleats of the skirt.) It is understated, timeless elegance at its very best - you could wear it a million different places, and would be great for showing off nice jewelry.
There is some faint smudging a couple of places in the skirting; I have shown this in the last picture. The dress has been dry cleaned, and I do not imagine this will come out. It is not easy to notice these spots when the dress is being worn (the light brown smudge on the left is close to the side seam, and the yellow smudging is hard to see because of the pleating) but upon close examination it is there nonetheless. I am accordingly offering a fantastic designer dress at a very low price.
Hips: 36" - 38" (Careful! This dress is not meant to fit snug through the hips; I'd say this will fit best on someone with 35" hips or smaller.)
This dress will probably fit best on someone size 4/6.