Since the departure of the design duo of Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler in September, the Swiss accessories label Bally
has gone without a creative director. This needn't have been an issue, given that under Bally's previous management, Herz and Fidler's ready-to-wear had been sidelined in favor of shoes and bags. But its ambitious new CEO, Frédéric de Narp, has other plans. Bally is to be a lifestyle brand, which means shoes need accessories of their own above the ankles. Herz and Fidler have not been replaced, but the Bally design team worked in conjunction with the young French designer Alexandre Mattiussi of Ami to restart ready-to-wear. Accordingly, they skew younger and trendier than their predecessors, who more often mined the company archives for inspiration.
The debut collection under the new leadership is small but not unencouraging. After years of function-driven clothing, it may take time to convince Bally's existing customers to add a double-breasted topcoat or a slouchy pleated trouser to their accessories purchases, however appealing they may be. The transitional step of beginning with the materials and expertise the company already has in hand would seem to be the right one, as in the case of a puffer jacket in soft, black Bally leather.