'Amazing' Bill Blass Looks At 50 Years

STYLE FILE

June 06, 1999

Bill Blass, one of the first American designers to start his own label, recently launched his latest perfume, Amazing. Blass, 77, suffered a mild heart attack recently and announced that after 50 years in fashion, he will retire next year. Here he talks about his work and life.

Q. Why retire?

A. I really feel that after 50-odd years -- and believe me, odd -- 50 years of working that I want to do a book, and I want to do other things. I really want to spend some time in the country. And, God, I'm entitled.

Q. Why did you call your new perfume Amazing?

A. It's a word I use all the time. Since I've been conscious of it, I thought of how often I've heard people say, "That's amazing" or "This is amazing." I think the word is attached to me.

Q.Whom do you consider a style icon of the '90s?

A. Well, I think it is difficult. The '90s have ended, in my opinion, without one specific person taking that role. One would have thought it would have been Mrs. John Kennedy [Carolyn Bessette], but she has preferred since the wedding not to really be very visible or to be seen as into clothes. As we end this particular decade, I think that Nicole Kidman will become that icon. She combines the force of being an accomplished actress and celebrity, plus she is very, very interested in clothes.

Q. What was your favorite era of fashion?

A. The most attractive clothes were in the 1920s and '30s. I thought women looked fabulous. They had just come out of a period when the clothes were dowdy, and then they became fresh and young.

Q. Who is your favorite designer?

A. My favorite of all time is Balenciaga. He was one of the few designers that really brought what was considered a trade or a craft to a realm of art. Balenciaga was a superb cutter, superb with coloring. ... He also retired at the height of his career, which seems to me to be a good idea.

-- Knight Ridder/Tribune

Sparkle in the sun

Put some fun in your sunscreen. Sungirl Sunscreen contains glitter, letting you shine while defying those rude rays.

Face it, sunburns simply are not fashionable. The peely skin, the Rudolph-like nose, the pain. And don't forget the health risks. But sunscreen hasn't exactly been a fave fashion statement, either. Until now.

Sungirl ($9.99 for a 2.2-oz. bottle) has glistened on the celebrity skins of Sharon Stone, Christina Applegate, Sports Illustrated swimsuit- issue siren Rebecca Romijn Stamos and more.

The California company Natural Desires says combining style with skin care is a health plus as well. The glitter is visible proof that your skin is still safe. When you stop sparkling, reapply Sungirl, which is available in SPFs 3, 10, 20 and 30.

It's sold at Nordstrom, or check out the Website at www.sungirl.com.

-- Tamara Ikenberg

The skinny on swimsuits

Fact: Eighty percent of women who enter a swimwear dressing room leave the store without making a purchase, Fitness magazine reports. And 85 percent of swimsuits that are purchased never touch the water. The most common size for a two-piece? 10.

-- Knight Ridder/Tribune

Pub Date: 06/06/99

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