STORY CHALISA VIRAVAN • PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF BRANDS
Swiss luxury fashion brand, Bally, is making waves in the fashion industry by adding new colours to its classic pieces
If you’re looking for functional luxury leather products in the fashion world, Bally comes to mind. Bally has always stuck to classic and straightforward design with Swiss quality in every square inch. The brand has remained true to its DNA after all these years.
Bally started out as Bally & Co back in 1851 in Schönenwerd, Switzerland, founded by two brothers Carl Franz and Fritz Bally. During a business trip to Paris in 1849, Carl Franz wanted to buy his wife some lace-up booties. 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. That was the beginning of the brand.
One of Bally’s most iconic shoes is the Scribe Shoe. The line epitomises superior craftsmanship and quality: every shoe is made by hand in 200 steps, taking six hours to complete. The Scribe last is designed by Carl Franz Bally’s grandson Max, who names the new line after the Hotel Scribe in Paris where he resides. The Scribe Shoe soon becomes one of Bally’s most successful and famous products.
The Scribe Shoe is commissioned in celebration of Bally’s 100-year Anniversary in 1951. It brought fame to Bally and has been reproduced countless times, thanks to the fine attention to detail.
The Scribe Shoe is commissioned in celebration of Bally’s 100-year Anniversary in 1951.
In 2014, Bally redesigned the iconic shoe to give it a more modern feel. Each pair of Scribe shoes takes 18 experts with unrivalled expertise. The Scribe shoe is a flexible shoe that suits the busy gentleman on the move. It is made with premium calfskin from France and Germany.
In 2015, Bally made the Goodyear Welted Scribe shoe even more lightweight. The sole is a mix of rubber and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) which provides the benefits of both: rubber for its durability and EVA for its lightness. The sole is also waterproof, so it can be worn throughout the year. The new model attracted younger gentlemen who want formal shoes, and also appealed to its loyal fans.
In addition to the Scribe shoe, Bally made history once again by launching hiking boots. On May 29, 1953, New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and his climbing companion Tenzing Norgay were the first humans to conquer Mount Everest. It was Tenzing, wearing his Bally crafted Reindeer-Himalaya boots during the historic ascent. His boots is now displayed at Bally Museum in Switzerland and is one of Bally’s biggest prides.
In the Autumn-Winter 2017 collection, Bally evokes the mood of 1920s and Tenzing Norgay’s boots are brought back, with the same innovative ‘Sparta’ grip design which gives the boots a good grip in all directions, even in snow. For Autumn-Winter 2017, Bally’s men’s Chamonix (Charls, Champions) hiking boots feature the ‘Sparta’ grip on a lightweight rubber sole, providing a sturdy yet chic boot for city-slickers. Showcasing a strap with the Bally Stripe signifier as well as a studded toe cap option, the boots are available in shiny waxed calf leather in classic black and ink as well as a suede version in coffee brown and dark grey. Bally’s chicer Medison hiking boot is the lux counterpart to the urban Chamonix range. The boots are available in a black, rich honey and deep royal purple versions, with luxurious burnished finishing. This is the story behind the evolution of men’s shoes from one of the most iconic leather brands in the world.