Over the past few years, Copenhagen has become renowned as a destination for maximalist fashion. In contrast to the minimalism espoused by wider Scandinavia, the Danish capital’s overriding sense of style is a lesson in excess, defined by frilly prairie dresses, oversized silhouettes and clashing prints. And no one embodies this mood quite like Barbara Maj Husted Werner, the proprietor of fashion boutique Holly Golightly, who, with her shock of blonde hair and penchant for the eccentric, brings together an intriguing roster of designers.
On any given day browsers are likely to find Werner on the shop floor, ringing up sales and dishing out advice on how to style a shimmering hot-pink dress from Copenhagen-based duo Saks Potts (€374); a long pink and beige puffer coat from Stine Goya, another Danish name (€707); or a peach-hued tiered lace top by London-based Simone Rocha (€693).
“I have an uncompromising approach to the pieces I choose – I go by what I personally like and what I think people will find interesting,” says Werner. “That means taking chances and introducing customers to things they might not have seen before.”
Before setting up shop in 2001 Werner cut her teeth in the film industry, working as a personal assistant to the likes of director Nicolas Winding Refn. It was here she developed her visual sensibility, and also when she met Peter Grant – a set designer and collaborator with Lars von Trier – who she enlisted to work on the store. “Peter thinks about a room, and the experience within it, in a totally different way to an architect or interior designer,” says Werner. “His approach has more to do with storytelling, incorporating different eras and aesthetics.”
When the boutique moved to bigger premises last year, Grant and Werner came up with a scheme that is at once homely and eclectic: one room hosts a dining table covered with jewellery – gem-studded Small Worlds necklaces by Orit Elhanati and recycled 22ct-gold wares from New York label Prounis are favourites – and ladylike handbags by Proenza Schouler or Marni; another area mimics a lounge, with cosy chairs, pot plants and bookshelves laden with shoes and objets d’art.
“I wanted to create a store that would entertain people who might not necessarily be interested in buying clothes,” says Werner of the boutique’s exhibition-space character. Her revolving cast of artists and artisans includes Marianne Eriksen Scott-Hansen, who creates exuberant bouquets of paper flowers (from €1,000), and Evren Tekinoktay, whose Plexiglas works feature neon lights and moving parts (from €23,500).
This blend of art and commerce in a unique setting is what keeps Holly Golightly relevant, says Werner. “I think that personally curated stores, like The Apartment in Copenhagen or Cutter Brooks in the UK, appeal to your emotions,” she adds. “If you feel like someone has really gone out of their way to create something special, you’re more inclined to visit.”