It was a pivotal season for Bally: Not only does it have a new corporate and creative structure, but it presented its first coed show. Design director Pablo Coppola left the company late last year, and the accessories and ready-to-wear collections are now overseen by an in-house team. Later this year, the brand plans to move from London to twin hubs in Milan and Caslano, Switzerland, Bally’s historic home.
The show, a static presentation at the imposing Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense on Via Brera, reflected the company’s new direction: With rtw representing just 5 percent of the business, Bally’s focus is now on accessories, which telegraphed a sense of “happy luxury, whimsical and joyful,” said Bally’s chief executive officer Frédéric de Narp during a walk-through. He’s also been working on broadening Bally’s entry prices and clarifying the offer.
Bally took the sensible route this season, riffing on some of its best-selling styles, such as the Janelle loafer — a slim shoe with a fat buckle and a crushable back — and the Sommet B-Loved bag, a boxy, structured style done with playing card motifs in line with the season’s casino theme.
Bally has also been putting a fresh spin on the works in its considerable archive, such as a pair of haircalf leopard-print boots with little black pom-poms from 1939, and a pair of T-strap heels with a starburst pattern on the vamp dating from 1936.
Key men’s looks included hiking boots inspired by an original Bally pair from the Fifties, and a pair of creepers with thick jagged-edged soles.
Understandably, there was just a flash of rtw — including a fun cow-print pleated skirt made from haircalf bonded with silver foil fabric, a cool caramel suede trench, and a yellow foil dress with a lasagna ruffle down the front. The balance was just right for the new Bally.