There’s lots new at Bally, a lot going on, and the men’s spring/summer 2015 collection reflects this. It’s as if design director Paolo Coppola has tapped in to the vast 162 years of history of the brand, selecting the best and making it contemporary, injecting self-confidence and glorious colour. The Bally presentation took place in Milan in a new showroom, where accessories were given pride of place, timeless classics whose functionality becomes beauty.
The Dottic finish appears on shoes, a dotted black on white pattern that was patented in 1935; it is perfectly suited to this season in which one of the trends is small patterns of this sort. The B of Bally can be seen embossed on various products, such as bags, wallets and key-rings, in a demonstration of self-confidence. Driving shoes and boat shoes have long been in the Bally collections, but this time they have three beautiful, bright colours, cherry, grass and sapphire. Sneakers, espadrilles and hightops are lively in new designs and colours.
Lots of bags and backpacks. The Bloom bag is beautiful in ostrich; the backpack is another of the season’s trends, along with totes, borrowed from the women’s world.
The garments are, to a degree, seasonless (not surprising considering the brand’s Swiss origin) and could be suitable for use in winter too. Leather outerwear is technologically treated and meticulously detailed in finish. The looks created by Paolo Coppola are very wearable, a versatile smart casual, with some of the season’s trends (shorts, coordinating accessories, formal garments worn with informal footwear, bright colours) and some distinctive Bally touches such as a giant black and white check and the treated leather outerwear for perfect waterproofing.
This is Paolo Coppola’s second season, in which he is utilizing the experience that he developed at Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Celine, Burberry, and Alexander McQueen. He said, “Bally has such incredible and unique potential; my approach is to take the rich past of this brand and make it relevant for today. We are pushing Bally forward and letting the product speak for itself. We are creating a softer style of luxury where products are crafted for real people.” Coppola works with a 15-strong design team in London.
The other important new development at Bally is CEO Frédéric de Narp, who joined the company in this role in November 2013. His experience in retail culminated recently in the successful turnaround of Harry Winston, almost doubling its sales over a three-year period and returning the brand to profitability. This enabled the billion-dollar purchase of Harry Winston by the Swatch Group in March 2013. De Narp said, “I am delighted to take the helm of a brand with such rich heritage. Bally is 162 years old and has become the leading Swiss luxury accessory brand. I am fascinated that Bally took part in the 1953 conquest of Everest, in the 1969 Moon landing, and was one of the first European brands to enter China in 1978. Bally is synonymous with adventure and expanding the frontiers of human endeavour.” His optimism is justified.