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Society News

Michael Vollbracht, Iris and Carl Apfel.

Michael Vollbracht, Iris and Carl Apfel.
Photo by:Nick Hunt of Patrick
McMullan Company



Exclusive line from former Bill Blass designer to debut September 16


Saks Fifth Avenue announced the launch of an exclusive new line of made-to-measure and made to order clothing designed by Michael Vollbracht. It’s the designer’s first fashion endeavor since exiting Bill Blass in 2007.

The collection, which includes both day and evening looks, evokes a classic, American style. Vollbracht said, “Like Bill, I’ve traveled all over the country and have met women who need clothes that fit their lifestyle. Bill told me early in my career, ‘Kid, go out and meet your customer’ and I have always followed his advice. In my four years at Bill Blass I met some of the most interesting and powerful women in America.  I want to focus my talents on them.” 

Vollbracht’s debut collection of 60 pieces will launch on September 16 with three shows for a select group of women — many who have been his personal friends for years. He will support the launch with a series of personal appearances, trunk shows and one-on-one client appointments, traveling to Saks Fifth Avenue stores in New York, Atlanta, Bala Cynwyd, Beverly Hills, Chevy Chase, Chicago, Cincinnati, Greenwich, Houston, Naples, Palm Beach, Palm Desert, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Troy, Michigan. Marie McCarty, Vice President of Sales for Michael Vollbracht LLC— the newly formed company—will also be traveling to these doors.

Michael Vollbracht LLC, will produce two collections a year: made-to-measure and made to order. Partnering with Vollbracht in his new company is entrepreneur Dr. Jerry H. Lynn. The clothes will be sold only in The Fifth Avenue Club at Saks.

Vollbracht said, “There are so many designers today and too few retailers to cultivate them. Teaming with a major store and having the support of its sales staff gives us great advantages.” Vollbracht has traveled extensively for Saks the past four years, including a visit to the company’s store in Dubai. 

"We’re very excited to launch this new collection with Michael," said Joseph Boitano, Group Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager, Women’s Ready-To-Wear. "He understands the Saks customer. His sensibility and taste in fashion make women feel beautiful."

Vollbracht designed under his own name from 1979 until 1986 and received a Coty award in 1980. In addition to his high-end clothing line, he built a successful sportswear collection with Manhattan Industries that included a six million dollar a year swimwear business. He also designed sheets and towels for Burlington Mills. Prior to establishing his own company, he worked for Geoffrey Beene and Donald Brooks. A Parsons School of Design graduate, he won their top honor, the Norman Norell Award, which was presented to him by Blass who became a friend and mentor. In 1999 Bill asked Michael to collaborate on a book and retrospective of his work for The University of Indiana. He was creative director of Bill Blass, Ltd. from 2003 to 2007. Vollbracht has also had a parallel career as an illustrator. In the 1970s he created fashion illustrations for Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale’s. From 1989 to 1995, he created artwork for The New Yorker magazine. In 1985 he published his tell-all book
“Nothing Sacred” which was republished and updated in 2001.

Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, is renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections, its expertly edited assortment of handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and home furnishings, and the first-rate fashion expertise and exemplary client service of its Associates. Today, Saks operates 53 full-line stores in 25 states, 3 licensed stores in the Middle East and 1 licensed store in Mexico City, 48 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores and, the company’s online store.





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