Rhuigi Villaseñor Exits Bally

Daniele Oberrauch /

Bally and its creative director Rhuigi Villaseñor are parting ways after only two collections, the brand announced today in what was described as a mutual decision. 

The Manila-born, California-based designer joined the 172-year-old Swiss luxury brand in January of 2022. Villaseñor, who found acclaim via his own luxury streetwear label Rhude, founded in 2015, was tapped to lead Bally by CEO Nicolas Girotto in an attempt to supercharge the performance of the house and expand its recognition in the luxury space. “I would like to thank Rhuigi for all his creative contributions during his time at Bally,” Girotto said in a statement. “His passion, energy, and creativity helped catapult Bally back into the spotlight, further rejuvenating the brand’s 170-year legacy through a modern, glamorous lens. I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his creative journey.”

It’s true that Bally returned to the spotlight after years of what could be described as idleness in the luxury space. Villaseñor ushered in a return to the runway with his debut collection for spring 2023 in September of last year, which also saw the introduction of both swimwear and jewelry. His vision for the label was decisively more opulent and sexy than Bally had been in recent years (Girotto described Bally’s prior vision as “a bit too safe and conservative” in an interview with Vogue Business last year), which lent itself well to celebrity partnerships. Future, Skepta, and Ghali sat front row at Villaseñor’s spring 2023 show, while Adrien Brody and J Balvin were amongst the guests at his fall 2023 show earlier this year. 

The brand is best known for its Swiss quality and leather goods—particularly in the menswear space—but under Villaseñor it gained mainstream visibility by way of celebrity appearances. Pusha T recently performed at Coachella in a custom look, while Nicholas Hoult, Charlie Puth, and Chris Pine wore his tailored runway pieces for red carpet appearances. The Oscar-nominated actor Austin Butler hosted Saturday Night Live in December of last year in a Bally suit by Villaseñor.

“My experience at Bally has been an incredible honor,” said the designer in the press release. “I wish the brand nothing but the best in all its future endeavors and look forward to enjoying its next creative chapter.”

Bally will present its spring 2024 men’s and women’s collection with a co-ed fashion show in September during Milan Fashion Week. The design studio will lead the direction of the brand until a new organization is announced, as it did the last time the company parted ways with a creative director.

In March, Bally announced a series of capsules to be designed by Adrien Brody, which will include ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, and other accessories designed by the actor with support from Bally’s creative studio. The partnership, together with Pharrell Williams’s recent appointment as artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, read as a harbinger for a new creative structure at luxury houses, one that sees them doubling down on celebrity influence to maximize their reach. Brody’s first capsule for Bally will debut in January of 2024. 

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