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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 SolothurnSwitzerland. In 1854, a shoe factory was set up in the village but Fritz Bally left the fledgling business and Carl Franz Bally carried on under the corporate name “C.F. Bally.”

By the 1860s Bally employed more than 500 people. Within another decade it had built an international reputation for quality and design in both men’s and women’s shoes and expanded operations outside of Switzerland to Buenos AiresArgentina;MontevideoUruguay; and Paris, France.

In North America, Bally has boutiques in AtlantaBeverly HillsBostonCosta Mesa,HonoluluHoustonLas VegasLedyardMcLeanNew York CityPanama City andWilkesboro, North Carolina.

Carl Franz Bally died in 1899 and his sons carried on with the business. Although the Bally family maintained voting control, in 1907 “C.F. Bally & Co. Ltd.” went public, their shares listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange. The added capital allowed massive expansion for their much-in-demand shoes and by 1916 they employed more than 7,000 people.

The company survived the Great Depression of the 1930s and the difficulties of World War II to expand globally with great success in the post-War era including a successful entry into the North American market. In 1976 they added clothing, handbags and other leather accessories. The following year the Bally family sold their interest in the company. Numerous difficulties followed and the company struggled under poor management against a tide of low-cost products from developing countries flooding the global market. In 1999 Bally was sold to the American investment fund Texas Pacific Group. On 22 April 2008 it was announced that Bally International AG is to be sold to Labelux Group Inc. Bally launches its iconic Busy-B and Trainspotting collections and continues its international focus, opening and renovating stores all over the world. The LABELUX Group, a Vienna-based luxury goods holding company, acquires Bally International in 2008 and in 2009, appoints Berndt Hauptkorn as CEO, Bally International.

In April 2010, Bally appoints British design-duo Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler as Creative Directors, after Brian Atwood leaves the brand, who bring a fresh focus to shoes and a new vision for the entire brand. Innovative new projects include collaborations between London’s Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach and Zurich University of the Arts. Today the company is headquartered in Caslano, Ticino, Switzerland.


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