Everything you missed from Bata Fashion Weekend in Prague
It was a celebration of the shoe giant’s 125-year heritage and emerging design talent
Prague was unusually cold this April; the picturesque city recorded temperatures as low as one degree but you wouldn’t have known it if you were watching the comings-and-goings at the landmark Palac Zofin. On April 14, influencers and journalists from around the world swept through the brightly lit palace in red-carpet-ready gowns to celebrate the iconic shoe brand, Bata’s 125th anniversary—with plenty of champagne to keep them warm.
A model shows off the Sandavah shoe, designed by Anita Wambui Wairimu—one of the finalists of the Bata Young Designers’ Challenge 2019
The festivities began two days prior; global Bata ambassadors and the media poured into Prague to witness this two-day extravaganza. Wrapped up in thick coats and wearing Bata shoes, this group was whisked off to the lavish Mandarin Oriental hotel, overlooking the Prague Castle, for a whirlwind weekend of fashion, food and fun.
The latest collaboration between Bata Heritage and Coca-Cola resulted in a range of retro sneakers
Larger-than-life ramp shows, a carefully curated shoe exhibition, a nostalgic pop-up museum as well as the search for promising design talent—it was all meticulously worked into 48 hours, with plenty of time for walking tours that would be a true test of the shoe brand’s commitment to comfort (it passed with flying colours!).
From left: Winners of the Bata Young Designers’ Challenge 2019—Kavita Kiswili, Natálie Nepovímová, and Tuvshin Batkhuu
In line with the purpose of the fashion weekend, which is to showcase the brand’s latest collections and technical prowess, Bata’s Italian Collection, Chinese Collection and Asia Pacific Collection were on display. Its technological ranges including Bata Flexible (for a more comfortable walk), Bata Light (with built-in shock absorption) and the Bata Insolia range of medium to high heels that actually improve posture, were also highlighted. This was also the perfect opportunity to introduce its new sports shoe, Power Mello that is named for its super soft, marshmallow-like sole.
Designed by Natálie Nepovímová, one of the winners of Bata Young Designers’ Challenge, Nu:on will be available at select stores across the world
Weaving in and out of Palac Zofin’s rooms, Bata’s guests were treated to an immersive experience that was both a retelling of the brand’s glorious history as well as an insightful look at the future. While one area housed vintage shoes that serve as important milestones along Bata’s design journey, another was the site of the unveiling of Bata’s 125th Anniversary Edition capsule collection that will be launched in October this year.
Bata’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection
The black-and-yellow sneaker was designed by Cyprian Kavita Kiswili, one of the winners of the Bata Young Designers’ Challenge
However, the piece de resistance was the finale of the Young Designers Challenge, that saw top design talents from universities across Italy, Kenya and the Czech Republic compete to design and produce a prototype sneaker. Three winners emerged—Natálie Nepovímová from the Czech Republic, Tuvshin Batkhuu, originally from Mongolia and now studying in Italy, and Kavita Kiswili from Kenya—and their designs will be available to shop next year at select showrooms. Through this annual contest, Bata breathes new life into their designs while tapping into a remarkable repository of new talent. On winning, Kiswili, a student at Nairobi University, said: “It is amazing to have something that I designed go into production and be sold in shops around the world. I just can’t explain the feeling. And I can’t stop smiling!”
Alexis Nasard, Bata’s chief executive officer
Charles Pignal, director of Bata Heritage and board director of the Bata Group
As the curtain went down on Bata Fashion Weekend 2019, that was live-streamed to millions via YouTube, guests walked away with polaroid photographs, unique gastronomical experiences and, most importantly, a sense of belonging. You see, Bata brought its whole family out to raise a toast to an almost unparalleled legacy in an entirely unforgettable way.
All Photographs courtesy Bata