The cult Scandi label ripping up the formalwear rulebook
While the French designers may aim to be exclusive, or the Italians sexy, it is the Danes who have struck gold (and fuchsia, cobalt, lime and orange) with their own upbeat fashion formula.
In the last five years Stine Goya’s eponymous label has become a bestseller in UK boutiques, stocked in independents from Exeter to Edinburgh (Stine is pronounced like Tina). Hers is the new label to covet for race day looks and wedding guests who want to find something more exciting than the floral midi dresses worn by the rest of the congregation.
“Scandi style has changed,” she explains. “We have become more colourful. It’s a daring way of dressing, clashing colours and textures, and I think that the Brits are not afraid of wearing bold things. The Brits and the Danes have an unspoken affinity – we have the same sense of humour.”
It makes sense that Goya’s line has been so successful in our small independent stores – the brocades and embellishments that are her specialty turn heads and inspire spontaneous shoppers. They also are priced smartly – at £200 for a metallic jacket.
Copenhagen Fashion Week is currently in full swing, with Ganni, Rotate and more cult labels showcasing the best of modern Scandi style. The British buyers, particularly, have descended on the city. Kat Jackson, owner of Marlborough store Curate, tells me that Goya’s line is her bestseller and is popular with customers looking for “occasion wear” that is cool, not cliché. Rose Burgess, buying manager at Coggles, agrees. “It’s the incredible price point coupled with fantastic design,” she says. “The dresses are very flattering and have great sleeves.”
Dresses are Goya’s best-selling item in Britain. She knows this, and makes more options just for our market.
“We dare to go all-in with our dresses and to let customers stand out from the crowd,” she says, acknowledging that no one wants to turn up to the party in the same frock as somebody else. “The British really get that.” That attention to sleeves is important, too. Goya’s designs are rare in that they suit all ages and body shapes; she’s dressed Michelle Obama and Kate Hudson, but also my friend Krissy, 30, for a spring wedding in the Cotswolds and my colleague Charlotte, 53, for Ladies’ Day at Ascot.
“I’ve never played into trends,” she says. “I just want people of all ages to feel good.”
Goya’s fashion career began in London, working as a model whilst studying design at Central Saint Martins.
She modelled in catwalk shows in Paris for Chanel and Valentino, and earned what she describes as a “fly on the wall” education of the industry. As a graduate she became a fashion editor for the now-defunct Danish magazine Cover, and honed the unique styling techniques that would later become signatures at her own label, founded in 2006.
Goya’s unapologetic use of colour is inspired by art – she loves Emma Kohlmann and Tomàs Saraceno. Her references growing up, she says, ranged from Nirvana to the British singer Róisín Murphy of Moloko. It’s a mash-up that comes together in her collections, prompting an original collage of acid brights, painterly prints and sequins – sometimes applied all at once to a single coat.
She certainly never ends up touting the same colours and florals as every other brand each season.
“I believe in the concept of dopamine dressing,” she says of her attraction to the bold hues. “Wearing colour has the power to shift your mood. This has always been the core of my creativity.”
On the streets of Copenhagen, women of all ages master the “Copencore” look; loose silver sequinned shirts with jeans and trainers, bottle green patent trousers and brocade jackets.
Goya is a leader in this fun style set. “A few years ago Copenhagen was a niche fashion week, now it’s a big international player,” the 43-year-old muses.
The home she shares with her husband and two daughters is in the city’s famous Potato Row neighbourhood, and is similarly doused in colour. She has lilac walls in the hallway, a mint sofa and a blush bedroom.
“I surround myself with colour,” she says, noting that her life influences her work and vice versa. “In the current climate, it seems like people are going quite minimal, solid, dark and navy. I understand that. But it just makes me want to do an even more colourful collection.”
Dress to impress
Elizabeth dress, £130; Nini dress, £260
Jasmine dress, £155; Pernille bag, £55
Liw top, £180; Kiana jacket, £130. All from stinegoya.com