Why Did Rhuigi Villaseñor’s Time at Bally End Early?
Rhuigi Villaseñor, the founder of Rhude had a surprisingly short run heading the luxury label Bally. Here's potential reasons why the partnership ended.
Image via Getty/Marco Mantovani
On Tuesday, Rhude founder Rhuigi Villaseñor and the 170-year-old Swiss luxury house Bally announced that their partnership has mutually come to an end. Villaseñor had only been the creative director of Bally since January 2022. At the time, Villaseñor was the first creative director hired by Bally in five years. He presented two seasonal collections while he was there. His debut in September 2022 was the first runway show Bally held since 2002. In January, Bally CEO Nicolas Girotto told Elle that he admired Villaseñor’s “multidisciplinary approach, with his background in art; his love for craftsmanship, music, travel, and designs; and his ability to engage and build community with his genuine positivity.”
So what happened?
While creative director positions cycle in and out, Villaseñor had a surprisingly short run at Bally. Like Virgil Abloh and Matthew M. Williams before him, Villaseñor was the latest example of a luxury brand tapping someone from the streetwear world to help reenergize itself. The difference is, Villaseñor was given much less time to execute his vision for the Swiss brand. Even though Villaseñor brought in a new logo, expanded on their womenswear line, and boosted Bally’s annual sales by 20%, it seems that wasn’t enough. Alternatively, he’s hinted at disagreeing with the larger Bally team at times, telling Vogue that his team advised him to “fuck up” his collections by adding sneakers into the line. At the same time, Villaseñor also told Elle that he wanted Bally’s brand identity to be so strong that “when you look at a flower arrangement, you think of Bally.” Respectfully, that didn’t happen within the past year he was there.
Here, we analyze Villaseñor’s time at the house and potential reasons why it didn’t work out as expected.