Dirk Bikkembergs Sport Couture, fall-winter 2011-12 men's collection Featured

Black, but with some amazing colours, and innovative shapes

Rowing is a sport in which muscle and technique are allied to a minimalist, high-tech machine to produce maximum propellant force and speed. The Dirk Bikkembergs Sport Couture fall-winter 2011-12 men's collection was presented on a catwalk in a hall within the Teulié army school, under an array of racing skiffs and twos, and the overall impression was the same: highlighting the beauty of well-honed musculature, in deceptively simple colour schemes based on greys and blacks with bright salmon and green. "Iterum alte volat," said the motto on the wall of the army school, "Fly high again," and the collection did just that, expressing power, reinforced by the Inception music that set the pavilion shaking.

Trousers were cut to just below the knee, tight-fitting and sports technology garments. Topwear featured all sorts of combinations of overcoats, with or without sleeves, aviator jackets again with or without sleeves, and in natural or bright red colours, and sweat shirts with the dB motif. Footwear was almost exclusively in the form of trainers, not excessively large but with prominent stitching. Boxing vests were worn over short-sleeved, round-neck T-shirts, or over sweaters with high polo necks; chunky knit sweaters were textured with lozenge motifs and cable stitching.

Original features included flowing capes with colourful trim, sleeveless overcoats, aviator jackets in natural leather and strawberry red colours, and tight-fitting knitwear suits with a black linear motif that created the illusion of a one-piece garment. A coordinated suit with a rowing jacket over short, tight-fitting trousers in navy blue was brought to live by a red accent produced by a boxer shirt over a grey polo. A light grey tracksuit is transformed into a semi-formal suit, with green lining. Sweaters in bright red or green were decorated with a hexagonal motif. Formal wear featured trousers with a military stripe down the outside leg, coordinated with the dazzling jackets. Though the overall effect of the collection was one of dark colours – grey and black – the restricted number of brilliant contrasting colours produced a lovely chromatic effect, for head-turning outfits whether for sports, leisure or formal wear.