THE GREAT BALLY CHALLENGE: Bally will unveil a series of new footwear designs during London Fashion Week in February, the fruits of a new competition the Swiss brand has undertaken in conjunction with Central Saint Martins. Last fall, Bally selected five master’s degree students from a pool of competitors at the London fashion college and began producing prototypes of their designs at the company’s factories in Switzerland and Italy. “This is not ‘Pop Idol’ for shoes. What we want to do is give young designers the chance to confront the complexity and reality of this business,” said Berndt Hauptkorn, Bally’s chief executive officer, during an interview in London on Friday. Hauptkorn described the partnership with Saint Martins as “long term,” and said it was a means of “keeping Bally fresh and contemporary, and emphasizing our heritage in craftsmanship.” He said that, going forward, Bally plans to expand outside footwear, and work with Saint Martins’ students in accessories or ready-to-wear.