After a 20-year long hiatus from runways, Bally finally made its hotly-anticipated comeback into the physical world of fashion during Milan Fashion Week. The brand’s catwalk revival felt like a rebirth given the two decades that have gone by since we last saw the Swiss fashion house’s creations on the runway. The longstanding luxury label, which was founded in 1851, recently appointed RHUDE founder Rhuigi Villasenor as creative director in January, making Bally’s spring 2023 ready-to-wear collection the Manilla-born designer’s debut at the helm of the Alpine Maison.
The elegant and lush brand, now working hand-in-hand with a revered streetwear guru, saw its intriguing and anticipated return to the industry’s main stage in the presence of an eclectic crowd of invitees and industry insiders that included supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, British grime artist Skepta, Italian-Tunisian rapper Ghali, Atlanta hip-hop artist Future, and New York-based actor Luka Sabbat, who were sat front row to witness Villasenor’s debut collection for the centuries-old brand.
The presented collection was centered around the notion of ecdysis, referring to the process of metamorphosis in layman’s terms. When taking a step back, be it to observe Villasenor’s new line or his status as creative director at such an esteemed institution, all parties involved in this runway presentation have had to shake old skin off, imagine new perspectives, and hone new identities, coating models with pieces that reimagined the conventional Bally aesthetic to mark this comeback show as the duo’s renaissance, taking everything back to the basics and write a joint chapter in their own respective books.
“I like to think of it as a sort of ecdysis — a time of shedding the old and revealing the new while staying true to the brand’s origins,” Villasenor explained in a statement shared at the show. “Throughout my journey exploring the Bally archive, I‘ve been inspired by the brand’s codes around art, graphic design, architecture, and nature, and I’m excited to interpret this heritage with a new vision,” he added.
Although his background with RHUDE and passion for streetwear was apparent throughout most of the collection, Villasenor’s take on Bally still appeals to the high-end customer with a twist only he knows the secret to. The designer shelled a slew of pieces that were, chic, bold, unique and, for once, actually made to wear rather than to pick up dust in your wardrobe after taking an #ootd for Instagram.
Bags, that once made the Swiss-brand’s fame, were obviously included in all sizes and shapes including pristine white purses, green leather shoulder bags, and black moon crescent handbags, to name just them. Silhouettes were tailored for each model, and slimmer cuts were preferred, although the idea of the body, from the collection’s theme and name to the pieces seen on the runway, was overly predominant, allowing the cast to float down the runway embracing each one of their curves.
Undeniably, Villasenor added his own touch to the Swiss label, translating its old legacy into youthful substance that takes form in fabric and material of all kinds. Granting us with the ultimate sneak peek into what is about to come in his Bally era, the American-Filipino designer’s first collection for Bally is one that is promising, that delivered, and that has us excited for the next season.