|Predecessors||CF Bally & Sons|
|Founded||Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland 1851|
|Founders||Carl Franz Bally and Fritz Bally|
|Key people||Frédéric de Narp (CEO)|
The Bally company was founded as "Bally & Co" high fashion in 1851 by Carl Franz Bally (1821–1899) and his brother Fritz in the basement of their family home in Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland.
Bally was founded through the passion and vision of pioneer Carl Franz Bally. His original family business was the manufacture of elastic ribbon but a journey to Paris and a gift of love forever changed Bally’s destiny.
During a business trip to Paris in 1849, Carl Franz wanted to buy his wife some lace-up booties - the popular shoe of the day. Unable to recall her exact size, he decided to buy twelve pairs in a range of sizes, knowing that one would certainly fit. Upon visiting the Parisian factory where the booties were made, he noticed that each shoe featured buttons with elastic closures similar to the kind his family produced in Switzerland. Inspired by the possibility of creating more jobs and improving the lives of local residents, he decided to expand his business into shoe production. Together with his brother Fritz, Carl Franz employed designers to assist and together, they began producing shoes made entirely by hand in the cellar of his Schönenwerd home.
The Bally Company was established in Schönenwerd in 1851 and three years later, the first factory located in the village centre was built. In 1854, Fritz Bally retired. By the 1870s, Bally was recognised as a footwear industry leader. The company’s name changed to CF Bally, and then to CF Bally & Sons when the brand’s founding pioneer handed the company reigns to his sons in 1892. Carl Franz died in 1899 but undeniably passed on his pioneering spirit to his sons. Bally grew internationally and opened stores in Geneva and Montevideo (Uruguay) in 1870, followed by Buenos Aires (1873), Paris (1879) and London (1882). In the 1880s, Bally was also one of the very first luxury brands to open in China. By now the brand had also extended its offering to include clothing, handbags and leather goods for both men and women (1976), and in 1990 would become truly global, opening in the following countries: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey.
Fast forward to 2014, and the brand continues to go from strength to strength, combining an evolutionary mix of age- old techniques and state of the art technology, enabling the manufacture of high-quality products . Bally is currently under the leadership of CEO Frédéric de Narp (November,2013), with Pablo Coppola as Design Director (February, 2014) and parent company JAB Holdings at the helm. Anne-Marie Gaultier has also joined the brand as Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications. She started in April 2014, and was formerly Marketing & Communications Director of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, and has worked for companies including Club Med and Bouygues Telecom.
Patrons Of The Arts
Over the years, Bally has supported the development of creativity in other artistic pursuits through its patronage of unique projects and initiatives in design, architecture and art. This developed partnerships that go far beyond the borders of fashion. Bally first commissioned famous artists such as Bernard Villemot, Hugo Laubi, Lise Berset and Otto Baumberger to create iconic advertising posters, heralding a new style of artistic advertising. The brand also worked with acclaimed interior designers and architects like Robert Mallet-Stevens, Karl Moser and Andree Putman to name a few. More recently, for 2014 Bally celebrates French and Swiss modernist architects and designers, with ‘Function and Modernity’; a year-long travelling art exhibition dedicated to modernity, function and innovation. The evolving exhibition made its first stop in Basel (June,2014), where Bally invited French artistic duo ‘Kolkoz’ to create a unique art piece inspired by the modernist legacy, entitled ‘Form Scratch’. The project is a work in progress and will also travel to Art Basel Miami (December, 2014) and Design Shanghai (2015).
In 2008 TPG Capital sold Bally International AG to Vienna, Austria-based Labelux Group, a luxury goods holding firm which also owns Jimmy Choo Ltd. and was founded by German billionaire Reimann family as part of the family’s investment arm Joh A. Benckiser.
Today, the company is headquartered in Caslano, Ticino, Switzerland and run by JAB Holdings. The company announced that Frédéric de Narp, a former executive at Harry Winston, would become its chief executive officer in November 2013.
- Conti, Samantha (10 January 2014). "Frédéric de Narp Talks Bally". WWD. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Conti, Samantha. "Anne-Marie Gaultier Named to Global Marketing Post at Bally". WWD.
- Labelux Group acquires Bally International AG from Texas Pacific Group Inc - Thomson Financial Mergers & Acquisitions - AlacraStore.com
- Conti , Samantha (19 September 2013). "Frédéric de Narp Heading to Bally". WWD. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
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