Most (if not all) of the models in the Bill Blass show were too young to recognize their struttin‘ music–a fantastic song from the 1940’s: “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goodman. This vintage swing song with a driving drum beat, was made undeniably modern in a remix by Johnny Dynell featuring an even heavier drum beat that continued throughout the entire show: “Boom! Boom! Boom-Boom da-boom!” The sound added burlesque irreverence to the feminine Fall 2007 fashions.
As we’d see when the lights came up and a “curtain” featuring the iconic Bill Blass logo parted, Michael Vollbracht’s homage to the past and view of Fall 2007 was also a mix of vintage-made-modern, but with a touch of rebellion. A large curtain (with the iconic Bill Blass Logo) parted, and models brashly strode right down the middle of the runway: “Boom! Boom! Boom-Boom da-boom!”
The beat may have been largely”stripper,” but these were not trashy clothes. This label is attracting younger women as well as loyal followers who are (now a bit older than when they first fell in love with Bill Blass. We saw beautifully tailored day clothes, elegant, red-carpet-worthy evening gowns, in colors (yes, colors)! Deep green, moss green, gold, cinnamon, olive green, cocoa, indigo blue, champagne, coral…! Of course there was plenty of classic black, too. “Boom! Boom! Boom-Boom da-boom!”
In this photo I took at the end of the show, when the models did their final walks down the runway, pausing to form little groups and then becoming animated (a rarity on runways) and walking backstage together. The clothes are so ladylike, but if you look closer, there’s an edge to them. This is not your mother’s Bill Blass, but it’s still recognizable. There was something very delicate and feminine about the collection–any modern woman would look beautiful in classic basic black cocktail and evening dresses and nicely tailored separates for daytime. There were a few interesting departures from classic, such as a white feathered embroidered cocktail dress that reminded me of a flapper’s dress from the 1920’s. Another great note: the 50’s-style hair, parted on one side and piled up in huge buns by Jimmy Paul for Bumble & Bumble that immediately felt modern 50’s to me–a nod to Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” re-mixed for 2007. I couldn’t see the makeup because I wasn’t backstage or up close, but the program notes tell me the MAC Cosmetics pro team created this look, so I will get more information for a feature, later on. “Boom! Boom! Boom-Boom da-boom!”
Here is the designer with some of his models at the end of the show. I thought it was interesting that in a few places the notes say “Halston-like” and “Norrell-like. Michael Vollbracht apparently wanted to take inspiration from the past (although he had plenty that was uniquely his) and, as it says in the program notes that he was inspired by Halston and Norrell because: “I fell in love (Norrell’s) sequined mermaids years and years ago when I was a very young designer and about Halston: “‘because his simple philosophy looks so good in this era of over-designing. ” And of Bill Blass: “it is my job to knock him off.”