A Star is Born at Bally

Modern seduction tinged with old mystique emerged from the glossy celluloid of Hollywood as Bally presented its Fall/Winter 2023 collection.

As Milan Fashion Week comes to a close, many are left feeling this season’s serving of slinky fashions fell short. With all-star headliners, Donatella Versace—opting out of Milan for L.A. instead—and Alessandro Michele M.I.A., many wondered where they would get their fix of sultry, smart fits. Likely not everyone’s initial assumption, Bally entered the scene blazing with statement.

Arriving at Bally last season was Rhuigi Villaseñor. Speaking the language of Bally through the dialect of the oil-slick, understated luxury of the 90s, what ensued starkly differed from what we had come to know of Villaseñor through Rhude. 

Zooming up on the fibers that comprise glamour, he adopted the codes of jet set luxury with garments arriving in plush velvets, animal prints, leathers embossed with croc and snakeskin effects, and languorous silks. Relaxed tailoring for both men and women added to the overarching image of the leisurely elite. 

Footwear took the form of Mary Jane flats and backless loafers for men. Perhaps the highlight of its women’s footwear was the knee-high boots that debuted. Their spindly heels, as sharp as needles, gently tapped and alternated on the runway. Tracing up their limbs, sublime variations in pink and gold metalized leather were paired alongside matching leather jackets generously adorned with the house’s insignia. 

Courtesy of Bally

If Bally designed for the jet-set elite soaring through the sepia skyline last season, the house had a more specific narrative in mind this season. Modern seduction tinged with old mystique emerged from the glossy celluloid of Hollywood as Bally presented its Fall/Winter 2023 collection.  

Shifting settings between the corridors of Casa degli Atellani and its courtyard lined with mirrors and beaming lights, Bally highlighted the performative aspect of fashion. Getting dressed is, after all, a performance. Through the rituals of dressing up, we hope to emulate the feel of the look we so meticulously curate. 

Courtesy of Bally

And so, Bally’s show began with a look drenched in fiery crimson. A glimmering knee-length coat encased a matching sheer blouse and an even more vibrant scarlet A-line mini skirt. Adorned with a graphic silk foulard tied around the neck, the house hinted at a collection that sought to revive the teeming glitz of the 90s. 

Nonchalant in attitude yet highly aware of their ensnaring allure, Bally’s models paced the runway with an effortless glide. Trimming its silhouettes to a snug fit, Villaseñor closed in on form to deliver fitted double-breasted jackets and trousers. Look two exemplified this with a pin-striped suit fitted to a T paired with knee-high equestrian boots. While equestrian boots might not exactly be revolutionary, their croc-embossed, glossy leather brought them out of the romantic countryside and into the fast-paced world of the city. 

Courtesy of Bally

Hooded garments for women appeared alongside knit sets in rich shades of plum and rust, while necklines plunged in diaphanous mini dresses. Contrasting delicate materials with those of rugged strength, the house suggested seduction through unabashed glamour may not be a thing of the past. 

Outerwear mused the actress of the silver screen with fur coats appearing in a fiery shade of crimson and natural browns. A purple fur coat with its collar extended exaggeratedly, a leather trench coat, and a cape followed. It became clear proportions were tactfully skewed to repurpose traditional outerwear. 

Courtesy of Bally

A sumptuous, hooded plum coat also entered, taking center stage as perhaps the most contrasting piece of this season’s outerwear. Cutting away at its plush volume, leather panels snugly trace the arms, encompassing the shoulders. Topped off with buckled straps at the neck and a leather pocket, Villaseñor injected a dose of the street style he is famed for through the vocabulary of the house’s refined luxury. 

Footwear for women extended last season’s display of towering heels. Boots, too, followed the formula of the spring—this time soaring to the thigh in tan, navy, ivory, and plum variations. 

Courtesy of Bally

Certainly, Bally’s latest collection turned up the heat at Milan Fashion Week in a season that felt, for the most part, austere and toned-down. Via slinky silhouettes and lacquered, high-shine finishes, it inspired a feeling of nostalgia for the glossier days of fashion.

While his sartorial vocabulary at the house’s helm is only just beginning to be pronounced, it will be interesting to see how his language of L.A. streetwear will translate to a once-sleepy and stiff luxury house. We can only speculate what’s next for Bally. However, its new creative direction suggests the rapidly resuscitating fashion house is worth keeping on your radar.

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