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Vollbracht, Michaele

Michaele Vollbracht was born in 1947 in Quincy, Illinois. Vollbracht began his career in fashion as a student at what was then Parsons School of Design in 1965. Four years later, Geoffrey Beene hired him as a member of his design team, and Donald Brooks followed suit two years later. In 1973 he went to work for Henri Bendel as their in-house illustrator. He continued in that function when he moved to Bloomingdale's after another two years, but also designed the store's famous Face Bag, carried out daily by thousands of shoppers. In 1979 he launched his own line, which was received so well that it earned him the Coty Award the very next year. The company folded in 1985 due to Vollbracht having accepted financial backing from Johnny Carson, which was withdrawn during Carson's bitter divorce from his third wife. In 1999, Vollbracht returned to the world of fashion after Bill Blass, a longtime friend and mentor, asked him to design a retrospective on Blass's work for Indiana University's art museum. In 2003, Vollbracht returned to New York when he was invited to become head designer for Bill Blass Limited. He resigned from the label a few years later in 2007.