LONDON — Halloween may be three weeks away, but Bally is already dreaming of skeletons, flies and skulls, part of its new collaboration with Swizz Beatz, and the London-based spray paint artist known as Shok-1.
Bally will reveal the capsule accessories collection on Wednesday during a flash, two-day visit to Tokyo where Shok-1 will also unveil a mural on the side of Park Building in Shibuya and host a pop-up gallery at the brand’s Ginza flagship, its largest store at 8,640 square feet.
This is the latest collaboration between Bally and Kasseem Dean, the music producer known as Swizz Beatz, who works with the Swiss brand to find talent for one-off collections.
This latest offer includes totes, clutches, high-tops and hoodies with Shok-1’s delicate X-ray paintings of flies, skeleton torsos and bony hands that form one of music’s favorite gestures, a fist with the pinkie and index fingers extended.
Frédéric de Narp, Bally’s chief executive officer, said the brand and Swizz Beatz were both eager to work with Shok-1, a British artist who began his career as a chemist and who is now known for his graceful, large-scale murals, some of which are done in iridescent or florescent palettes.
“I respect him because he is a pioneer, and that is what we wanted — someone unique. He invented X-ray painting, and he also knew about the Bally culture, Bally’s relation to hip-hop in the Eighties and Nineties and the brand’s connections to the music world,” de Narp said. He added that Shok-1 has never collaborated with a luxury brand before, until now.
Last year, Bally and Swizz Beatz worked with Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo on a collection filled with bold, graphic patterns and shaman motifs.
De Narp added that the brand’s one-off collaborations inspired by art and music and aimed at Millennials have so far been a hit. He expects this one to have sold out in six weeks’ time.
The 44-piece collection will have limited distribution at Bally stores and through pop-ups at retailers such as Selfridges and Harrods. Entry prices range from $45 for a pair of socks to $175 for T-shirts. Sneakers run from $390 to $475, while the leather backpack costs $1,850.
“These recent collaborations have electrified the brand in the eyes of the Millennial, the target audience. They love this connection to art. The capsules also help us to do something quick — it’s a drop — and you want it to be limited and selected. The collaborations give a real reason to visit the store and to connect with the brand — and they’ve been extremely positive for business,” de Narp said.
The ceo said he chose Tokyo for the launch because the city exists at the cutting edge of sportswear and streetwear. In addition to being the home of Bally’s largest flagship, it has special meaning for de Narp himself, who moved to Japan straight after university, learned the language and practiced martial arts. He began his luxury goods career there, too, working on the shop floor at the Cartier Ginza store.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from sales in Japan of the new collection will go to the local Red Cross to aid victims of the typhoons, which have been battering the country since June. “This is a big deal, I am excited, and it’s going to be really, really fun. Swizz Beatz just texted me now to say ‘It’s show time!’” said de Narp said.