ANIMAL MAGNETISM: Bally is headed to New Orleans for the relaunch of its quirky, folksy Animals sneaker collection, which originally hit shop floors in 1991. The latest Animal capsule is exclusive to the U.S. market, and will coincide with the release of a documentary called “Animals,” about Nineties New Orleans inner-city culture.
Animals was created by Bally in the Nineties to mark the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Federation. The shoes, which feature quaint, folksy scenes of edelweiss, Swiss farmers blowing traditional alpenhorns, and cow and goat motifs, became a surprise cultural phenomenon with the urban hip-hop scene in the U.S. — and especially in New Orleans.
Bally said it brought back the collection by popular demand from the U.S. market, and from fans including Sean “Diddy” Combs. It has also created accessories and ready-to-wear to launch alongside the sneakers.
At the same time, Benjamin Simmons, a filmmaker from New Orleans, was making a documentary about the youth scene of the Nineties and the impact of Bally’s Animals. He contacted Bally, wanting to pick through their archives in Switzerland, and a collaboration was born.
On May 3, a screening of the film — and a party — will take place at the Orpheum Theater during the New Orleans Jazz Fest. The events will also mark the launch of the Animals collection on bally.com, and at LIVE, the hot luxury streetwear store in the Louisiana city.
Such is the magnetism of the Animals collection that it’s been pre-sold in the hundreds, according to the company. Bally said 90 percent of sales have come from just four states: Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Georgia. The city of New Orleans accounts for one in five orders.
Frédéric de Narp, Bally’s chief executive officer, is headed South this week to take part in the festivities.
“Animals was really an American thing — and it’s only being launched in the USA at the moment,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s honestly so nice, because you can see it in the archives and it shows how Bally’s history and its archive are still relevant for today’s world. That’s what’s excited me. This is a moment from our past and customers wanted to see it relaunched in a modern way.”
Looking ahead, de Narp said Bally plans to launch its second collaboration with Swizz Beatz in October with a new contemporary artist.