Inside Bally's Intimate Chateau Marmont Dinner Party
Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Zoe were among the guests to attend the exclusive event.
The luxury fashion landscape has been painted lately with black holes where the faces of iconic creative directors used to sit as a flurry of ins-and-outs continue to shock the industry. So it's a welcome respite when the news about a big brand is positive, and actually, inspired.
That's the energy that carried throughout Chateau Marmont's Bungalow 1 on Thursday night when Bally's top notable names took it over to welcome a table filled with 55 guests including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Zoe and Joy Bryant. Bally is not only a big brand, but one with legacy dating back to its founding in Switzerland in 1865.
But this wasn't a birthday party, instead a celebratory bash (in partnership with nonprofit Communities in Schools, which aims to keep kids in school and on track for life) to toast the recently-opened (and beautiful) Bally flagship store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This is not a typical Bally address, however, as two of those top names in attendance — Bally CEO Frederic de Narp and design director Pablo Coppola — were quick to point out to Pret-a-Reporter.
It's a David Chipperfield-designed boutique (he also designed Bally's New Bond Street location in London) with red marble on the outside and playful prints and accessories on the inside, designed to energize lines of classic staples like leather goods and shoes which the brand has been long known and honored for. The store has been in the planning stage for two years and is located at 340 N. Rodeo Drive.
"We're bringing a fire under the brand that has 165 years of history," de Narp says. "We picked L.A., not just because I've spent eight years in America and I love this city, but because I know that L.A. influences the rest of the world."
Hear that, rest of the world? He continues: "It's true for art, design, architecture, entertainment and even for sports at this moment, technology. From L.A. we are going to roll out the creative design of the brand."
That falls on the shoulders of Coppola, who leads the brand in design and seems as enthusiastic about L.A. as he does his work. "Whenever I have an excuse to leave the foggy weather in London, I'm up for it. Plus, I love the people in L.A. — they seem happy," he laughs. "I would love to move here, but I need to talk to Frederic. Maybe he moves Bally here."
He was joking, naturally, and everyone seemed to catch his vibe inside the casual yet lively dinner. Paltrow snuggled with boyfriend Brad Falchuk and chatted with soccer star Robbie Rogers and his fashion partner Warren Baker (who launched a denim jacket collection), while Alan Cumming made the rounds and actors Bryant, Freida Pinto, Elizabeth Debicki and Austin Stowell and Communities in Schools executive director Deborah Marcus milled about, sipping Dom Perignon. Everyone wore Bally, including Zoe, who ducked out before dessert with husband Rodger Berman, presumably to get home to her young children.
The table featured California-drought-approved succulents, and de Narp stood before it to deliver a brief but energetic speech about Bally's new vision. Off-script, he was equally pleased about his dinner dates, including a certain fashionable Goop founder.
"Bally has been a true brand of quality and authenticity, and Gwyneth, for me, embodies true beauty and authenticity as well," he notes. "She's extremely talented, but in her talent there is a sense of meaningfulness that is defined in our brand as well. It's a really an amazing feat and a friendship. We're honored to have her."
And we're always honored to be invited.
HAVING A BALL: A view of the Chateau Marmont pool during the Bally event to celebrate its Beverly Hills flagship store at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on April 21. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Bally)
DINNER DATES: From left: Bally design director Pablo Coppola, Rachel Zoe (in Bally), Gwyneth Paltrow (in Bally) and Bally CEO Frederic de Narp attend the Swiss luxury brand's event to celebrate its Beverly Hills flagship store at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on April 21. (Photo: Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Bally)
GWYNETH'S GUY: Bally-clad Brad Falchuk attends the Bally event to celebrate its Beverly Hills flagship store at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on April 21. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Bally)