In a surprising turn of events, Swiss luxury brand Bally and its creative director, Rhuigi Villaseñor, have decided to go their separate ways. This decision comes after Villaseñor’s successful tenure that spanned only two collections but had a significant impact on the brand’s identity and visibility.
Villaseñor, who joined Bally in January of 2022, brought a fresh perspective to the 170-year old brand. Nicolas Girotto, Bally’s CEO, praised Villaseñor’s commitment, stating, “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“.
As Villaseñor exits, the fashion house is following a trend seen in other industry giants like Gucci and Louis Vuitton in 2022. Bally’s in-house design team will now take the reins, spearheading the brand’s ready-to-wear line, with their Spring/Summer 2024 collection set to be unveiled during Milan Fashion Week in September 2023.
Villaseñor’s tenure at Bally was marked by a dynamic reimagining of the brand’s identity. He returned Bally to the runway with shows that highlighted a sensual and bold woman. He took creative liberties, reinterpreting Bally’s iconic curling boot with an unexpected blend of Western details and traditional mountaineering motifs. Villaseñor said of his time at Bally, “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“.
Villaseñor, a native of Manila who grew up in Southern California, is widely known for his brand Rhude, founded in 2015, and his design work for celebrities like Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z. His star-studded connections brought mainstream visibility to Bally, with celebrities such as Pusha T, Nicholas Hoult, Charlie Puth, Chris Pine and Austin Butler donning his designs.
In a strategic move, Bally revealed in March their collaboration with actor Adrien Brody for a series of capsule collections, featuring ready-to-wear, footwear, bags, and additional accessories. Brody’s designs, supported by Bally’s in-house creative team, signal a shift in the creative dynamics of luxury fashion brands. The debut collection from the Bally-Brody partnership is slated for release in January 2024.
Under Villaseñor’s direction, Bally also revamped its New York flagship store in April with vintage furniture, soft hues, and luxurious fabrics. Simultaneously, the brand delved into philanthropy with the Bally Foundation at Villa Heleneum and the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation, underscoring its commitment to preserving mountain landscapes.
With its global headquarters nestled in Caslano, Switzerland, Bally employs a diverse team of 1,500 individuals across the globe. The brand boasts an impressive retail presence with over 320 standalone stores and 500 multi-brand outlets across 60 different countries. In the digital sphere, Bally’s e-commerce platform caters to customers in 61 countries.
Bally has carved a niche for itself in the luxury market, renowned for Swiss craftsmanship and exquisite leather goods, especially in the realm of menswear. While Bally, in accordance with the policy of its parent company, JAB Holding Company, does not disclose exact sales figures, it’s noteworthy that the brand witnessed a promising uptick in sales, with a 20% year-to-date increase compared to 2022.
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