Designer Rhuigi Villaseñor announced he is parting ways with the iconic fashion house Bally in what has been described as a mutual decision.
Joining the ranks of Bally in January of last year, Villaseñor brought with him a tide of creative dynamism. Bally‘s CEO, Nicolas Girotto, heaped praise on the designer’s distinctive creative footprint. In his words, Villaseñor’s “passion, energy, and creativity helped catapult Bally back into the spotlight, further rejuvenating the brand’s 170-year legacy through a modern, glamorous lens.“
The departure of Villaseñor, however, does not spell an end for Bally’s innovation. While the brand transitions towards a new creative organization, Bally’s design studio will continue guiding the brand’s aesthetic trajectory. Bally’s vision for its Spring 2024 collection will be unveiled at a coed fashion show in Milan during the much-anticipated Fashion Week this September.
Villaseñor, born in Manila and raised in Southern California, is renowned for his creative prowess, founding his own brand RHUDE in 2015 and being a fashion favorite of celebrities like Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z. His tenure at Bally saw him revitalize the brand’s runway presence, starting with a spectacular show in Milan in September 2022. His artistic prowess was evident in the way he celebrated the brand’s iconic curling boot, infusing Western elements with traditional mountaineering motifs in a perfect blend of the familiar and the new.
Villaseñor expressed his sentiment regarding his departure, saying, “My experience at Bally has been an incredible honor. I wish the brand nothing but the best in all its future endeavors and look forward to enjoying its next creative chapter.“
Bally’s audacious decision to bring Villaseñor onboard was a testament to its commitment to bold choices and innovation. As Girotto shared in a past interview, “The industry needs risk-taking and bold choices, youth and creativity to elevate and bring energy to the brand.“
With a clear plan to further penetrate the U.S. market, Bally will continue its exciting journey of evolution. The company, headquartered in Caslano, Switzerland, boasts over 1,500 employees and an expansive retail presence spanning 320 stores and 500 multibrand points of sale across 60 countries.
While Bally’s offerings have historically been dominated by menswear, accounting for 60 percent of its revenues, the brand is shifting focus towards bolstering its womenswear category. It will be intriguing to see how this expansion, coupled with the anticipated capsule collections from Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody, will play out.
Bally also recently reopened its flagship store in New York’s Meatpacking District, after an extensive refurbishment overseen by Villaseñor. This location embodies the new design concept that encapsulates Villaseñor’s unique aesthetic, characterized by vintage furniture, soft hues, and plush fabrics.
In April, the Bally Foundation launched its first exhibition at Villa Heleneum, titled “Un Lac Inconnu.” In addition, the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first successful summit of Mount Everest, with a dedicated capsule commemorating this feat. All net proceeds from this collection will support mountain preservation efforts.
Bally’s current trajectory promises an exciting future even in the face of Villaseñor’s departure. The brand, armed with a rich 170-year history, remains resolute in its vision to forge new paths while honoring its heritage. The ever-changing landscape of fashion is peppered with farewells and new beginnings, and the change at Bally is no exception.
Looking back, Villaseñor’s tenure was instrumental in redefining Bally’s identity for a contemporary audience. His distinct approach to fashion brought a fresh perspective, blending the allure of the Western world with the endurance of mountaineering motifs, striking a chord with both new and long-time Bally enthusiasts.
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The excitement now shifts towards the imminent Milan Fashion Week, where Bally’s Spring 2024 collection will make its debut. Despite Villaseñor’s absence, the brand’s commitment to fashion-forward thinking is unyielding. As we anticipate the unveiling of the collection, the intrigue builds around how the brand will preserve Villaseñor’s innovation while simultaneously carving out a new path.
In the interim, Bally’s focus will be on growing its womenswear segment. Historically, Bally’s primary business, the womenswear category, has taken a backseat, with menswear contributing to 60 percent of the revenues. The brand now seeks to reclaim its prominence in the womenswear space.
As Bally transitions into this new chapter, Girotto’s words resonate, “You can’t win if you do what is expected of you.” The sentiment embodies Bally’s ethos of taking risks and making bold choices, a philosophy that remains unchanged even in the face of change.
In the ever-evolving fashion industry, brands like Bally, with a fusion of legacy and daring innovation, continue to thrive and inspire. As the company looks forward, the spirit of Villaseñor’s creativity will undoubtedly continue to influence the brand. In Villaseñor’s own words, “I look forward to enjoying its next creative chapter.“
Here’s to the next chapter in Bally’s illustrious history and to the anticipation of the remarkable, transformative journey ahead. Bally’s future, in the hands of its talented design studio, and bolstered by its unique approach to fashion, is set to captivate and fascinate its dedicated audience. As we say goodbye to Villaseñor, we also celebrate the promise of Bally’s creative future, a testament to the perpetual dance of continuity and change in the world of fashion.
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