Bally’s Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Simone Bellotti is the new design director at Bally, replacing the brief stint of Rhuigi Villaseñor, who left in May. An experienced designer, Bellotti spent 16 years at Gucci under Frida Giannini and Alessandro Michele, and is now tasked with bringing the Swiss brand into new, and possibly solid, territory.

For his first collection, he mined the label’s rich archive “that holds incredible treasures of made in Switzerland craftsmanship,” he said backstage before today’s show, held in the portico surrounding the formal gardens of the San Simpliciano cloisters. A flair for precision and rigorous execution are inherent to the Swiss mindset. Yet as the saying goes, still waters run deep. Bellotti was drawn to explore a mysterious, expressive and subversive flip side of the spirit of the country’s culture. He came across the story of Monte Verità, a utopian community of free, creative souls founded in Ascona at the turn of the 20th century. A haven for spiritual regeneration and artistic and mystical practices, it was visited by famous intellectuals and artists—Carl Jung, Herman Hesse, Rudolf Steiner, Paul Klee and many others sojourned in the retreat, basking in the healing atmosphere of the alpine landscape.

Bellotti embraced the duality of rationality and expressive creativity as two sides of a style identity as “layered as human nature,” he said, “because I believe that brands have a complex personality, not always unilateral and straightforward, rather similar to that of humans.” The collection he sent out today was a fine, sensible exercise in balancing the contradictions between practicality and imagination, elegant design and subtly humorous details.

For both genders, outerwear was the collection’s core, cut with soft precision mostly in high-quality leather. Elongated straight-line or boxy blazers paired with matching shorts, pencil skirts or relaxed trousers were offered alongside A-line dusters and sleeveless zippered bombers and treated with a fresh, youthful approach. Eccentricity and the “out-of-control element,” as Bellotti put out, came by way of taffeta minicrinis, poufy ultra-short ballerina skirts or minuscule tutus made from swirls of rosettes and girandoles, peeking out from masculine trench hcoats in shiny black leather, or paired with a short-sleeved, square-cut office shirt in crisp Swiss poplin.

Adding a note of witty homage to Swiss traditions, a strawberry print gracing both a pretty one-piece bathing suit and a small rectangular handbag recalling a kid’s miniature travel bag was drawn from a picnic tablecloth. ‘Appenzeller’ talismans in the shape of tiny cow bells were rendered into bags’ charms, hanging from the straps of trapeze crossbody bags in bright, cheerful colors.

As a first outing, it was quite promising for Bellotti, whose approach to the Swiss label’s legacy felt both considered and gentle, consistent enough to be further explored and moved forward. Bally needs no fancy twists-and-turns or avant-garde fashion positioning, rather a modern, intelligent, focused refresh of its historical codes.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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