Exhibitors Spotlight:
Edition 100
Nostalgic, fraternal, contemporary: Bikkembergs’ Spring ’22 collection is a punchy homage to the athletic uniform

Exhibitors Spotlight focuses on a selection of brands exhibiting at this year's Pitti Uomo, showcasing their upcoming collections and special upcoming projects.

The sleek but functional athleticism of Bikkembergs’ famed footwear and attire does well at concealing the brand’s Belgian roots, incorporating subtle cues all whilst defying cliché. A graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Dirk Bikkembergs launched his eponymous brand in 1996, and it wasn’t long before it became an established name amid aficionados of sporty couture. The past twenty years have seen the Bikkembergs man move through a range of iterations, at times erring on the side of high fashion, at others embracing the smooth utilitarianism of luxe sportswear.  
For their latest Spring ’22 pre-collection, the brand sought to reconnect with the values underpinning its original philosophy. “For this season, I envisioned our own hypothetical Athletic Club, embracing various sporting activities to capture the idea of team spirit, creating clothes and accessories suitable for a contemporary masculine lifestyle,” says Lee Wood, who has served as creative director of the Bikkembergs label since 2016.

Wood had previously spent nearly 16 years honing his skills at a designer in the Versace studio, notably working on the Versus line. His arrival at Bikkembergs had followed a 2-year creative direction hiatus for the Belgian brand, following the departure of its founder. Over the past five years, Wood has combined inspiration streaming from his British roots and couture expertise to refashion the label into a savvily groomed understanding of contemporary masculinity.
The patterns and materials used in the collection efficiently symbolize Wood’s commitment to the brand’s aesthetic values: stretch cotton, reconstructed logos and ergonomic cuts nod to the classic club uniform fit, while the clean color palette of blues, whites and grays prompt immediate associations with the brand’s longterm devotion to the classic athletic look. The subtle touches such as hints of citrus hues echo the vivacity of physical movement.
Bikkembergs’ latest collection also sartorially translates the congenial, fraternal and functional ritualistic dimension of team sports — from everyday training gear to the decidedly more ceremonial uniform. The latter can be found in the collection’s array of formalwear adorned with Navy pin-stripe cool wool and compact stretch viscose jersey for elegant suiting. 
A Pitti Uomo veteran enduringly fond of a nostalgic, multifunctional masculine style, Bikkembergs continues to couple the savoir-faire and love of classic silhouettes with the dynamism and ever-moving nature of the modern man.
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