MILAN — There is a lot going on at Dirk Bikkembergs .
The Belgian brand — recently bought by the Italian company Zeis Excelsa — is planning to move into women’s wear next month, and on Sunday it showed the first men’s wear collection under the direction of a new designer.
The choice of the South African designer Hamish Morrow appears to have been a very smart move as he brought a new dynamism to a brand known for its love of sportswear. “I wanted to get back to the essence of sportswear,” the designer said backstage.
But don’t worry — this did not translate into tracksuits on the runway. Instead, there were more tailored pieces crafted from comfortable knits, pants shaped to echo jeans and forgiving blazers.
A hint of the armed forces, both in the choice of military green for the opening ensembles and in the rigor of some of the outerwear, also showed that Mr. Morrow has found a new path for the house but one that hasn’t forgotten its past.
A version of this review appeared in print on January 17, 2012, in The International Herald Tribune.