The news of Rhude founder and creative director Rhuigi Villasenor‘s appointment as creative director for Swiss fashion house Bally was received with no small amount of buzz, not to mention anticipation. Villasenor’s appointment for many represented the impact of creatives of color in fashion anchored by the power and relevance of streetwear.
Owned by investment firm Jab Holding Company, which also owns Coty, Switzerland-based Bally has in the past signaled its interest in connecting with streetwear by collaborating with artists such as Andre Saraiva, and Swiss Beatz on apparel and footwear.
Commenting on the effort in an exchange with GQ, Filipino-born and American-raised Villasenor said, “Rhude has been an adventure on my immigrant story and my perception of American luxury. And now this is my perception of global and European luxury.”
Villasenor made his Bally debut with a spring 2023 runway presentation, the label’s first fashion show in two decades, Titled “Ecdysis” (meaning shedding of old skin), the collection of 44 looks was comprised of tailored men’s suits and trousers, women’s slouchy trousers, denim and slinky dresses.
This collection also marked the introduction of Bally swimwear and jewelry where Villasenor leaned into what getting dressed up looks like for himself and his peers. “It’s about really making things that are part of my wardrobe. It’s what guys my age and my friends want to wear and go out in,” he explained.
A strong debut, we look forward to seeing Villasenor continue to create looks exuding effortless swag, as informed by his association with streetwear. While designers picked up by luxury houses were in the past quietly pushed to distance themselves from their affiliations with streetwear as a way to maintain class-based separations, now, thank in part to push back from designer like Ye, Virgil Abloh and Matthew Williams, connecting with the culture through design can be seen as creating a long-needed bridge to the lower-income communities who are the roots for so much of fashion inspiration.
We’re not looking for Villasenor to revive Bally by making sweatshirts or redesigning the label’s $300 logo t-shirt, however, we are excited about his talent for creating designs that stay true to Bally’s opulence while also celebrating his authentic streetwear roots.
Enjoy the full Bally spring 2023 runway show below.