‘Bally’ poster

Made by Villemot, Bernard in France, 1989.

This Bally ‘Ballon’ poster, a colour offset lithograph, was design by French poster artist Bernard Villemot (1911-1989) in Paris in 1989. It was Villemot’s last before his death in 1989 and featured prominently in Bally stores all around the world, including Bally’s Sydney store. Villemot created his first poster for the Swiss shoe manufacturer Bally in 1967 after which Bally and Villemot went on to collaborate for the next 22 years.

The founder of Bally Shoes, Carl Franz Bally began making sho...


Poster, 'Bally', colour offset lithograph, paper / ink, designed by Bernard Villemot for Bally International, France, 1989

The billboard poster features a slab of red and black colour divided by the curvilinear profile of a woman with bare back and arms, bobbed black hair and a shapely left leg kicked up behind her, highlighted and shadowed by a male trouser-leg and flat shoe. She wears a white backless dress with black spots, black and yellow Bally shoes and bright red lipstick. On the black background, to the front of the woman, 'BALLY' is printed in the distinctive Bally typeface. On the red background level with her back is a blue and white globe representing the world. Printed (in hand-written script) above this in the upper right-hand corner is 'Villemot'. The poster is linen-backed and was designed to be exhibited in outdoor locations around Paris and possibly in the Underground Railway stations.


1655 mm
1150 mm


Bernard Villemot is regarded as one of the finest graphic designers in France in the post-WW 2 era. He has held numerous solo exhibitions including that at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris in 1981. In 1967 Villemot was approached by the Director of Publicity for Bally Shoes, who, tired with the current publicity posters produced by Bally graphic designers, commissioned him to create a poster for the Company. This poster was 'Bally' (1967) known as 'Legs' which won the Martini Prize Gold Medal. His subsequent 22 year career at Bally involved the design of many other posters including 'Bally' (1969) known as 'Diamonds', 'Bally' (1974) known as 'Lotus' or 'Woman-Flowers', Bally (1982) 'Woman in Black' and the poster currently being acquired completed just before his death in 1989. All of Villemot's posters for Bally use arrestingly simple imagery and thus effectively promote Bally shoes as stylish expressions of the 'modern' and glamorous woman.

Villemot's graphic design style belongs to that of an international graphic art after the innovation of the Bauhaus and de Stijl and is not far removed from the evolution of painting, particularly the School of Paris. He is highly representative of a dozen other poster artists of the post-war period with his use of vivid colours, thin outlines and abstracted forms. His other advertising clients included Air France, Perrier, Orangina and Bergasol.

Since 1910 over sixty prominent European poster artists have been commissioned by Bally to promote their shoes. Amongst this plethora, Villemot is representative of the strong graphic (rather than photographic) style which is most synonomous with successful Bally shoe promotion. The poster acquired is strongly reminiscent of the designs Villemot produced from the late 1960s to the early 1980s for Bally in its use of overt feminine imagery and strong blocks of colour. In this particular design, Villemot infuses flair and sensuality into the poster by the use of elongated imagery and strong curvaceous lines which are both visually arresting and emotionally pleasing.

Produced by Bally Shoes as a limited edition of perhaps 500 or 1000. Many would have been displayed at outdoor sites in the street and on billboards but this one was obviously kept aside. The poster was designed and produced in 1989 in Paris, France. It was the last work Bernard Villemot did before his death.
Villemot, Bernard 1989


The poster was originally designed to be exhibited in outdoor locations (see photocopy on Blue file of Villemot's Orangina designs on Parisian streetcorners) and perhaps in the Paris Underground. The same poster was displayed at the opening of the new Bally shop in Sydney (cnr of Pitt and King) in 1996. It is also featured on the front cover of the catalogue for the exhibition 'Im Lauf der Zeit - Bally Bally' (trans 'In the Course of Time - Bally Bally'), July - Oct 1993 mounted by the Bally International Zurich at the Museum for Gestaltung at Basel, Switzerland.


Purchased 1996
22 October, 1996

Cite this Object

'Bally' poster 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 November 2017, <https://ma.as/153050>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/153050 |title='Bally' poster |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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