Born in Philadelphia, Bill Robinson would go on to be an innovative men’s designer who would change the way men dress. In 1969 he graduated from the Parsons School of Design, being deemed “The Student of the Year”. The award was foretelling and Robinson’s talents were quickly put to use by established designers such as Anne Klein, Valentino, Stan Herman, Leo Narducci, and Gloria Vanderbilt.
In 1977, he would become the chief designer of Calvin Klein’s menswear collection. Menswear is where Robinson would leave his mark on the fashion industry as he deconstructed the current boxy and formal business attire of the time. He was adept with subtlety and color and favored slimmer and more casual looks for men. After a few years, he would continue his innovative menswear designs at Yves St. Laurent.
Bill Robinson launched his own men’s sportswear line in 1986 through a Paris-based fashion company, Bidermann Industries. Mr. Robinson garnered a Cutty Sark menswear award nomination in 1987 and he won the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year Award in 1988.
Unfortunately, Robinson became sick in 1991 and would produce his last collection called the “Best of Bill Robinson” shortly before his death in 1993. He will be remembered for his forward-thinking contributions to the evolution of men’s style. His softened shoulders, body-conscious knits, and more casual designs set a new standard for menswear.