Forza Collective, Monday, January 29, 2024 at 17.00, Designhuset Frederiksgade 1
It’s been quite a year for Forza Collective’s Kristoffer Kongshaug, what with a highly acclaimed capsule collection, a New Name of the Year gong at the Elle Awards and a place in the final three of the Wessel and Vett Fashion Prize. But today was the first runway show as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week which is nerve-wracking for anyone, though, as a seasoned designer with Dior and Raf Simons under his belt, Kongshaug probably took it in his stride. Despite its very short lifespan so far, the label has done a remarkable job in defining a signature aesthetic – a pared down, beautifully constructed mix of utility details and couture techniques – and so anticipation was high as we took out seats in an all-white gallery space where slowly building electronic music added a sense of drama.
Kongshaug cited Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct as a muse for this collection and for sure there were elements of the body-con sexual allure of Catherine Tramell in many exits but technique and construction are the real stars of this show. An old couture skill called pipe pleating – creating tiny tube-like tucks in neat regimented rows – was used in much of the daywear, creating a three-dimensional rib-like detail at the waistline or hem. Many outfits also benefited from wide obi style belts that defined the waist of dresses and jackets and, most sensationally, on a beautifully proportioned scarlet coat. The Forza femme is no prim, bourgeois lady-who-lunches though: semi-transparent latex t-shirts and skirts added a kinky touch (maybe a nod to that other steamy 80s blockbuster, 9½ Weeks), whilst waterfall draped sheer mesh dresses revealed the skimpy underwear beneath and a mini skirt split high on the thigh gave a knowing wink to one of Basic Instinct’s most notorious scenes. The distinctive bra cups which expose a tiny sliver of skin at their base – an innovative way to literally turn the sexiness of décolletage upside down – appeared on everything from abbreviated tops to evening dresses, whilst a similar detail also popped up, maybe less successfully, on the elbows of long sleeved t-shirts. For the most part, Kongshaug stuck to his strict sense of absolute minimalism – no prints or embroideries here! – with the only surface decoration coming in the form of a beautiful heavily textured fabric in shades of teal used for a coat and some well edited heavy silver jewellery. It takes a real sense of confidence to pare things back and rely so much on silhouette, colour and make, but if this debut show is anything to go by, Forza Collective have the chops to do it. Kongshaug should expect this year to be just as successful as last.
See a selection of the show looks below and see the entire collection here.