Frédéric de Narp, CEO Bally in conversation with CPP-LUXURY.COM

Frédéric de Narp, CEO Bally has recently spoken exclusively to CPP-LUXURY.COM about his company’s ambitious future plans.

1. How did your company perform in 2014? Did any markets stand out positively / negatively?

2014 was about surrounding ourselves with a team of best in class and reviving our product offering. To achieve this, we recruited the best people in their respective fields, starting with Design Director Pablo Coppola. Bally’s employees are the focal element of the corporate culture – great success always begins and ends with great people.

2. What are your expectations for 2015?

We definitely expect growth in Japan and the US and to that effect, will soon be opening flagship stores in Los Angeles and Ginza. We’ve also appointed new CEOs for the Americas and Japan – Claudia Cividino and Makoto Takakuwa respectively. They are industry veterans whose expertise will help conquer these markets. Bally will continue to grow in OSEA and travel retail and where possible, will ‘rejuvenate’ our existing stores globally.

3. Which regions / countries are your priority in terms of retail expansion? What is your preferred expansion model franchising vs DOS?

For retail expansion our plan is to refocus on the US and Japan. As some of the largest luxury markets in the world, they offer us outstanding growth potential. We won’t grow our own DOS network drastically but owning the retail experience with DOS is our main priority. Therefore we will improve on existing store locations and additionally grow our wholesale/franchisee models.

4. In 2014 you inaugurated a most innovative flagship store in London. Tell us more about the significance.

The Bally maison on New Bond Street is our first flagship in over 20 years and truly embodies our turnaround and new brand identity. We chose London because not only is it a fashion capital, but it is also inspiring and a timeless creative hub. Bally has a strong legacy of working with some of the most renowned architects and we are very honoured that David Chipperfield Architects designed this flagship – the first in a long series. Spanning three floors of retail space, the basement houses the menswear collection, the ground floor is devoted to womenswear and the first floor is dedicated to our Made to Order shoe care service.

5. While focusing on quality, craftsmanship and design, your recent communication campaigns draw on complex lifestyle formats. Please elaborate.

Bally has over 164 years of rich history, but being a heritage brand is not enough. Like any other luxury fashion brand we work with the best in their fields to produce engaging content. For our Autumn Winter 2015 advertising campaign we have teamed up with French artistic director Franck Durand, world-renowned British photographer Alasdair McLellan and models of the moment Edita Vilkeviciute and Clement Chabernaud.

6. In terms of product development, which are the key novelties of 2015?

For 2015 we have completely revamped the women’s collection, offering more variations of favourites such as the ‘Corner’ bag and introducing new designs with the ‘B-Turn’, ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Sommet’ bags to name a few. New shoes for women also include the ‘Morsetto’ and ‘Grip Stud’ collections. A notable addition to our menswear shoe collection to date, is our updated iconic ‘Scribe’ shoes, which feature the new ‘Scribe Novo Light’ – the lightest ever Goodyear construction on a rubber sole.

7. What is your strategic approach to the ratio between accessories and ready to wear?

For us, ready to wear will always be the accessories to the accessories. We have approximately 5% of ready to wear today and plan to increase this ratio to 8-9% in the next few years.

8. Bally recently attended Shanghai Design Week, marking yet another innovative collaboration with modernist artist, Jean Prouve. Will you develop similar projects and how important are such collaborations?

We will continue to build on the longstanding relationship between Bally and the Modernist movement and will also showcase the 6x9m Jean Prouve house in different locations in the future. Bally acquired the rare demountable house, which was originally created to rehouse victims during the war in Lorraine – France (1944), and restored it with the help of 12 experts. To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the houses’ creation and to continue our work with modernist artist, we embarked on a yearlong tour, showcasing the house at Art Basel, Art Basel – Miami Beach and finally Shanghai Design Week. At each location we collaborated with an artist and will definitely keep building on our relationship with the art world.

Frédéric de Narp, CEO Bally