With two well-received collections behind him, Bill Blass designer Lars Nilsson is still being scrutinized by the arbiters of style. After all, the fashion industry is full of one-season wonders. And Mr. Blass, although retired, is still very much a name that matters to his devoted clients (who eagerly await his biography, due out next month).
Part of the liveliness that Nilsson has injected into the Blass label comes from his delight in color and pattern. For Fall, he was inspired in large part by the traditional textiles and handcrafts of the Amish and his native Sweden, which he worked into the Blass tradition of well-tailored sportswear. Nilsson took a leaf pattern and turned it into a colorful, oversize print for silk satin, and showed a sweeping, fur-trimmed white coat with a ladder of black stripes. There were shapely wool suits, a luxuriously cozy embroidered cashmere anorak and, for evening, a series of lovely dresses, including a rainbow-hued, hand-tinted velvet number.
Though Nilsson leaned a little too heavily on his traditional sources this time around, he continues to bring a new spiritand a new sense of buzzto the hallowed house of Blass.