Bally is leveraging its formidable past as a boot and shoemaker and its logo-filled archive to great effect, turning out capsule ready-to-wear collections and putting the focus on men’s and women’s bags, footwear and other accessories. Over the past few seasons, the company has been gaining steam, with a new owner in the Chinese giant Shandong Ruyi, double hubs in Milan and Caslano, Switzerland, a new worldwide eyewear deal with Marcolin along with a steady rollout of stores.
A few days ago, the brand raised a hoarding over the retail space that will soon be Bally’s new Milan store, on the corner of Via Montenapoleone and Via Manzoni, formerly home to Vertu. The three-floor space spans 6,000 square feet and will come on the heels of an opening at China World in Beijing.
The men’s and women’s clothing and accessories collections presented at Bally’s Milan showroom were designed by the in-house team and inspired by the idea of wanderlust. Clothing was inspired by vintage stores and flea market finds, with fuzzy teddy bear jackets and shearling coats and bright, color-block knit tops with a “B” for Bally on the zip pull. Leather coats came with papery or plastic-y finishes, while a gray haircalf trench was a standout.
The travel theme extended to Bally’s accessories, too, with backpacks done in shearling, and lightweight leather handbags adorned with sporty stripes. Footwear included shearling slides with Bally branding, woven leather sneakers or ones done with vintage logos and snazzy gold heels for leather pumps and boots.
Bally’s chief executive officer Frédéric de Narp said the brand is forging ahead with its entry-level luxury positioning and its focus on modernizing pieces from the rich archive. “We don’t have a red carpet in Switzerland, so this positioning is perfect for us,” he said. The strategy has been working well, he said, with Bally’s women’s collections now accounting for 40 percent of sales, up from 20 percent a few years ago, while the brand is back selling at major retailers including Selfridges.