Paraded through the formal gardens of the Chiostro di San Simpliciano in Milan, the Spring/Summer 2024 collection designed by Simone Bellotti is a synthesis of the contrasts inherent to BALLY – a bastion of craftsmanship infused with pragmatic luxury since 1851. It is a reflection on the precise and the organic, on strictness and softness. From the streets of Zurich to its alpine landscapes, the Swiss identity is manifold. There lies a purity within, and a playfulness that leans subversive, scholastic, essential.
Placing classical design principles in new contexts for contemporary living, the collection departs from a place of sober elegance towards the spirit of Monte Verità, a utopian haven of alternative intellectuals and creative souls who settled in Ascona, Switzerland at the turn of the 20th century.* Their libertarian approach – rejecting the weight of an urban existence for a holistic communion with the environment – was a cultural revolution of literature, dance, painting and performance. Today, Bellotti evokes this bohemian élan through the bespoke sounds of DJ Leo Mas, whose Balearic sounds marked Ibiza’s Summer of Love in 1987 with the same carefree abandon.
In a confluence of masculine and feminine wardrobes, the Spring/Summer 2024 collection embraces a concept of duality, inspired by Bellotti’s vision of a brand with layers, a reflection of our human nature. Within it, Swiss red, cobalt and chartreuse flash against a palette of washed neutrals – colours that evoke both an urban uniformity and the soft nuances of alpine flora. Familiarity – of archetype, silhouette, cloth – is harnessed and relinquished through games of shrunken proportion and symmetry. Gestures – of drape and swing, of explosive volumes, of discreet charm – are abundant yet light to the touch, in dry cotton and ripstop, poplin, jersey, taffeta, pointelle and polished leathers.
Grounded in BALLY’s 172-year legacy of fine shoemaking, there is a re-emergence of archival models as new pillars of style. Revisiting and refining the flat buckled Glendale (Bally c. 1923) with a pointed vamp, the Scribe oxford lace-up (Bally c. 1951) with a burnished toe, and the Ballyrina flat (Bally c. 1940) with studded details, the standards of classic formality are imbued with contemporary rigor. Polished ‘appenzeller’ talisman belts and tooled leather bells all pay homage to Swiss custom. Luggage and handbags exemplify the dualities at play, as structured briefcases and frame purses in polished calfskin and gold chain hardware are seen alongside soft canvas messengers and weekender bags trimmed with the BALLY ribbon and the heraldic BALLY crest.