On a sunny afternoon in Hudson, New York, music plays inside Behida Dolić’s boutique. Dappled light dances across the street-front windows as ladies twirl around in hats and billowing dresses. Dancing is one of many ways this Bosnian-born artist, milliner, and clothing designer shares her uplifting joie de vivre with her local community.
Behida was born in a small town in southern Bosnia known for its weavers and furniture builders. In 1998, she came to the United States after fleeing the Bosnian War and soon discovered her passion for millinery. Since starting with one hat block, she has grown her business into a successful brand that’s been published in editorial features fromVogue to Sports Illustrated. “Sometimes I feel like hats saved my life,” she says. Every hat is handmade in her Hudson, workshop while the clothing collection, introduced in 2018, is produced in a family-run sewing room in New York City’s Garment District.
Whether it’s a tailored three-piece suit, a hand-sculpted hat with dyed silk ribbons, or a long cotton dress with poet sleeves and oversized bows, Dolić’s designs enable women to feel confident and beautiful, romantic and empowered. Her work has a distinctly European aesthetic, a poetic charm, and feminine strength reflective of the designer herself.
Dolić’s story is well documented on her popular Instagram account, where she openly reveals the moments that have shaped her, like her childhood in Bosnia, the loss of her children, and her recent battle with breast cancer. In addition to clothing design and millinery, Dolić is a gifted painter. Her deeply personal artwork is a testament to the life she’s lived, a story of love, loss, and longing.“Painting is the truest part of myself I can see,” she says. “It’s how I feel close to the people I love.”
Next year marks Dolić’s 10th anniversary in business. “I’ve become a master at making the best out of my situations,” she says. “I rely on my creativity.” Long-term, she hopes to write a memoir, open more stores, and move her production to Bosnia to provide jobs for women in her home country. In the meantime, she possesses a palpable contentment and gratitude for the present moment. She and Una, her Australian labradoodle, welcome visitors to the Hudson boutique, a place built with heart, soul, and unflinching ambition. Here, in this light-filled atelier with its sophisticated dresses and elegant hats, every day is a celebration of life, a dance waiting to happen.
Behida Dolić Millinery is located at 610 1/2 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. You can find her online here.
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