Vogue Philippines goes backstage at Bally creative director Rhuigi Villaseñor’s debut at Milan Fashion Week. Below, Anna Vitiello asks the Filipino designer our most-anticipated questions.
Former magazine editor and fashion week regular Anna Vitiello meets with Bally creative director Rhuigi Villaseñor on his momentous debut night where he displayed his collection, Ecdysis, on the catwalk. In January, the 29-year-old designer was announced to helm the Swiss luxury brand. Prior to his appointment, Villaseñor was known for his streetwear label Rhude which has been worn by notables including Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and LeBron James. His collections comprised of corduroy varsity-inspired jackets, loose silhouettes, crocodile running shoes, silk separates, and distinctly-American styles. With Bally, he says, “It’s about recreating a new code for the company [and] making sure that I respect the heritage and the idea of luxury.”
Although he is paving a new path for the Swiss brand, Villaseñor embraces the Bally codes that have been a core part of the company’s DNA. The Filipino-American creative director holds the impeccable craftsmanship of the label in high regard. He mentions, “It’s that touch that they have, the hand that they have for leather, and all the footwear. To me, it’s about making sure that we elevate all those key categories, but applying my own selfish stories within them.”
He unveiled his first designs and injected his own personality and narrative into the reinvigorating line-up of Bally creations. In the Spring/Summer 2023 collection, there were new elements like Chinese cookie handles and “B” emblems that the designer created himself. Villaseñor hopes that the codes he’s implementing now will eventually grow as seasons progress.
Elevating the Euro-luxe allure that is rooted in his RHUDE collections, Villaseñor’s collection can be defined in one word: opulence. Keeping Southeast Asian references in mind, the director drew inspiration from everyday objects including disposable styrofoam bags. With unexpected, commonplace elements such as cookies and to-go bags, paired with Python-accented pieces, and crocodile-embossed garments, his vintage-inspired collection rings in a new wave of glamour and a celebration of boundless luxury. Watch the video below to see how the conversation between Vitiello and Villaseñor plays out.
Video courtesy of Anna Vitiello
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