The work of Dirk Bikkembergs is pure muscle. Part of the original "Antwerp Six' he transfers the codes and nuances of sportswear to a sharp signature style that lies somewhere between the ideas of strength, health and durability.
The German-born designer (born 1959) graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy in 1983 before working for a variety of Belgian fashion companies, picking up the prestigious Golden Spindle Award for Best Young Designer in 1985. The son of army parents, Bikkembergs often makes references to the military in his work with tightly structured pieces and the odd fetish-like leather detail.
Launching his first collection of men's shoes in 1986, the designer set out a strict design formula that included his trademark double stitch (his clothing not only appears robust but is actually physically strong). In 1987 he introduced his menswear line, with the focus on knitwear, and the following year presented his first full collection menswear in Paris.
By 1993 his reputation had strengthened further and he adapted his perfectly masculine aesthetic for the first Dirk Bikkembergs womenswear line, which proposed tailored capes and reefer jackets. In the years since, numerous additional lines and projects have been introduced, including the White Labels for men and women and the Red Label Bikkembergs Jeans collection in 2000. In the same year the designer also picked up the Moet et Chandon Espirit du Siecle award.
In 2003, Bikkembergs became the official designer to Italian football giants Internationale, tightly trussing thighs with his unique translation of sportswear. Bikkembergs continues to infuse a physical energy into his clothes, a comforting muscle-bound heaviness, sharp detail, durability and a hard-nosed eroticism.