Friday, January 9, 2009


So I mentioned My One True Love has a real gift when it comes to giving presents, and that he found me this original Bally poster.

Here it is in situ on our sitting-room wall. If you look very very closely, possibly using a magnifying glass, you will see on the chair to the left of the picture there is a little grey Podae all curled up and staring straight into the camera from his blankie. He loves that blankie, though the Fatpuss often commandeers it, which is his right as Top Cat. On those occasions the Podder paces back and forth in front of the chair anxiously, before giving up and sitting on the other one. It has no blankie and he considers it a very poor substitute.

But back to the poster. It's known alternately as the Lotus, Lotus Flowers or Ballerina Shoe poster. It was designed in 1973/74 by Bernard Villemot. It’s reasonably rare and depicts two women - a redhead and a brunette - showing off their new yellow and blue ballerina flats.

Villemot was a French poster artist (1911 – 1989) who began designing for Bally in 1967. His posters really came to define the brand, using very strong abstract imagery and the female form. They’re very graphic pieces which grab your attention.

He won the Grand Prix a number of times for his Bally art and kept producing designs right up until his death in 1989.

The posters were produced in limited lots of 500 or 1000, and they were meant to be exhibited outdoors – on hoardings, dans le metro, on building walls etc - but many were also kept indoors and that’s the reason there is a modern collection of vintage posters.

Outdoors, the posters would have become faded and torn with time .. plastered over, graffitied, they’d have flapped in the wind and deteriorated in the elements. I imagine elegant and sleek Parisiennes hurrying past them in light rain, clutching their fur collars closer to their throats, scarves fluttering out behind them.

My immense thanks go to the wonderful people who had the foresight to keep a few out of the weather.

If you’re interested, this excellent art and journalism blog has a good page on some of the posters Bernard Villemot designed for Orangina, not to mention lots of other interesting stuff.


SoMH said...

I would like to publicly claim my credit for that rather nifty use of "in situ". Hey, isn't that a technical scientific term??
I have a question: what happened to the gorgeous cat art print that used to be there?

Troischats said...

Heh heh - so true! I think of you every time I read that phrase now.
THe gorgeous cat art print is now leaning up against the wall in the hallway, but will eventually go into the Yellow Room, currently occupied by the Amateur Actress. Right now though, Grimth is using it as a fort ... he hides in the gap between it and the wall and then pounces on people/pusses as they walk past.