U.S. designer Villasenor leaves Swiss luxury house Bally after helping boost visibility

MILAN (AP) — U.S. designer Rhuigi Villasenor is leaving his position as creative director of Swiss fashion house Bally, a move announced Tuesday as a joint decision.

Villasenor has led the creative team at Bally since January 2022, helping boost the brand’s visibility with a return to the runway after 20 years and front-row celebrity guests including Adrien Brody, Emily Ratajkowski and Ella Emhoff.

The Filipino-American designer's debut in Milan in September coincided with a flurry of ethnically diverse designers showing collections in Italy's fashion capital.

In a statement, Villasenor called his tenure at Bally “an incredible honor.”

Bally CEO Nicolas Girotto said Villasenor’s “passion energy and creativity helped catapult Bally back into the spotlight,’’ citing his “modern, glamorous lens.”

An in-house team at the 170-year-old brand will design collections until “a new creative organization is announced,’’ the fashion house said. Bally plans to present a co-ed collection during Milan Fashion Week in September.

Villasenor's departure comes as the brand reports that sales so far this year are up 20% over the previous year. As part of the brand's relaunch, it reopened its New York flagship store and announced a series of capsule collections with Brody, which are set to debut in January 2024.