A step in time: The Bally Babouche

Find out how the traditional Moroccan slipper became a cornerstone of the Swiss fashion house’s collections


The babouche has its roots deep in the heat and sand of the Middle East. Originally a simple leather slipper with a pointed toe and no back, the babouche was worn in ancient Morocco for convenience rather than style. The slippers are still available in Marrakech’s souks, of course, but tend to come in bright silks with a pointy, curled toe. But in the past couple of years the style has emerged from the Medina and into the mainstream with bohemian 70s influence flooding the catwalks. The babouche has shown it has staying power with its laid-back insouciance, comfort and convenience – and one of the brands making this happen is Bally.

The Swiss luxury brand is known for its footwear. It started as a shoemaker and remains dedicated to making finely crafted, beautiful and comfortable footwear. They first introduced their version of the babouche slipper as part of their Spring Summer 2016 collection with the Janelle, a style that has become a cornerstone of its range of women's shoes. The Janelle is crafted from Serrano leather, has a soft rounded toe, small heel and prominent, satisfyingly chunky square gold buckle on the upper. It also features the characteristic counter of its babouches that can be folded down, or worn up for a more structured and supportive shoe.

The Janelle is receiving an update for Autumn Winter 2017 with new colours and materials including a sparkling black with crystal-encrusted buckle, pony and leopard print calfskin models, and ones with poker and casino-inspired adornments, gold studs, and a tartan-inspired check.

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Three new versions of the babouche will also be launched as part of the AW17 collection. The Lottie, which has an elegant round buckle, will be available in a black patent, rich pink rose, black suede and the core colours of black and bone. Another new model, the Livilla, has Bally’s iconic Trainspotting stripe across the upper and metal rivets on the side. The third babouche for the collection is the Lorel, a new shape that features a spider detail from Bally's archive.

The genius of the Bally babouche is its versatility, as well as its comfort. It’s a shoe made for transitioning from day to night and works equally well with trousers or a skirt, across all seasons. As Bally's newest collection demonstrates, it's also a style that suits adornment – whether a simple metal buckle, or a playing-card-inspired heart, spade or club surrounded by metal studs. Women will always need grown-up, stylish flat shoes for work and play and the Bally babouche happily fits the bill.

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