Dirk Bikkembergs

Image sporty models Dirk Bikkembergs

In 2021, the MoMu collection was expanded with a representative selection from the oeuvre of Dirk Bikkembergs. With his focus on sports and logos, he set trends that have had a remarkable influence on the world of fashion.

Mannequin with soccer ball in blue and white attire
Dirk Bikkembergs, Autumn-Winter 2005-06
MoMu Collection inv. X1541, Photo: Stany Dederen
Blue lookbook Dirk Bikkembergs with orange caption over illustration from model
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 1992 lookbook
MoMu Collection
Mannequin in gray athletic costume, with green sports bag and top, and a gray hat
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 2004
MoMu Collection inv. X1534, Photo: Stany Dederen
Detail of backside of model in leather vest with blue pants
Dirk Bikkembergs, Autumn-Winter 1988-89
MoMu Collection inv. X1536, Photo: Luc Willame
Mannequin in gray-blue sweat suit with blue hat and bag shaped like a soccer ball
Dirk Bikkembergs, Autumn-Winter 2009-10
MoMu Collection inv. X1538, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in green sports suit with beige oversized coat and large blue bag
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 1991
MoMu Collection inv. X1533, Photo: Stany Dederen
Detail of backside model in black leather vest with hat and gray joggers
Dirk Bikkembergs, Autumn-Winter 1988-89
MoMu Collection inv. X1537, Photo: Stany Dederen
Muscular mannequin in underwear, robe and with soccer ball
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 2012
MoMu Collection inv. X1539, Photo: Stany Dederen
Picture of pile orange Bikkembergs soccer shoes
Dirk Bikkembergs, campaign image
Photo: Luc Willame

Dirk Bikkembergs graduated in 1982 from the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In 1985, his menswear collection won the Golden Spindle competition, and in 1986, he launched his DirkBikkembergs label with a shoe collection. In 1988, he collaborated with the Italian manufacturers, Gibo, and a year later presented his first complete menswear collection in Paris. In 1991, he established his own production facilities in Italy. His clothing designs originally included military elements and references to work apparel, but in around the year 2000, Bikkembergs became intrigued by how influential the sports world was on how people dressed, all across society. The term ‘Sport Couture’ was added to the Dirk Bikkembergs label, which was subsequently expanded to include the additional Bikkembergs line. In 2003, he became the first fashion designer to dress a top-ranking soccer team, Inter Milan, in official off-the-field custom-made suits. This close connection between fashion and sports would mark his signature style until he left the fashion world in 2011.

THE SHOE AS BENCHMARK

View taken from lookbook of model in red tunic with sports shoe in hand
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 1987 lookbook
MoMu Collection inv. 62579, Photo: Luc Williame; Model: Alan Katz

ICONIC DESIGN

His ‘mountain boots for the city’, with laces through the heel, are among Dirk Bikkembergs’ most iconic shoe designs.

Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 1994
MoMu Collection inv. T16/774AB, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in red sportswear
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 1987
MoMu Collection inv. X1529, Photo: Stany Dederen

For Dirk Bikkembergs, shoes are a determinig factor in the look and feel of any outfit. His first men’s shoes were inspired by ceremonial military footwear. Solidly made leather shoes look robust, in direct contradiction to the classic Italian men’s shoes that dominated fashion in the mid-1980s.

FASHION AND FOOTBALL

Catwalk model in gray suit with black duffel bag
Dirk Bikkembergs, Autumn-Winter 2009-10 show
Photo: Luc Willame

In June 2000, he invited the international fashion world to his show in Milan’s San Siro football stadium, becoming the first fashion designer to unite the diametrically opposed worlds of football and fashion in the process. He merged comfortable, high-technology sports fabrics with the quality and finish of high fashion. His made-to-measure suits, which offer the comfort of a jogging outfit, enjoyed immediate success.

Mannequin in blue costume with shorts, soccer shoes and soccer
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 2004
MoMu Collection inv. X1543, Photo: Stany Dederen
Mannequin in gray suit with shorts and soccer shoes
Dirk Bikkembergs, Spring-Summer 2009
MoMu Collection inv. X1535, Photo: Stany Dederen

The new millennium brought a new chapter in my career. (…) At that time, the world of sports and the world of fashion were two different planets, with apparently nothing in common. My new mission was to create a bridge between these two worlds!

Dirk Bikkembergs in Dirk Bikkembergs: 25 Years of Athletes and Fashion

Author: Romy Cockx
Photo above: Eleven European footballers, photographed in the Karoo desert, South Africa, 10-17 June 2018 by Luc Willame