Hive Mind Millinery Interview

Oct, 11th, 2014

The artistry of haute couture millinery

1-on-1 with Dominique Hanke
During the past three years I’ve seen Dominique at numerous fashion events. We always chit chatted but today was the first time we actually had a conversation. After seeing her as a panelist for a Vancouver International Film Festival fashion documentary called, “Handmade with Love from France” I was inspired to learn more about haute couture.
Incidentally, local fashion designer Jason Matlo was the second panelist. Click Jason to view his collection and read my interview.
The final panelist was the film’s Director/Producer. Click Julie view a short clip of her film and read my review.

Where the magic happens!
Dominique on the cover of Weekly Entertainment (WE) 07.18.13
A man’s straw Fedora mixed with tartan fabric
A woman’s Bowler hat
A woman’s Boater hat
Bracken, Dominique’s daughter modeling a Cloche style hat

Q & A

R!c – Your designs are unique but the name Hive Mind suggests conformity. What’s the story behind your name?
Dom – It comes from my childhood. From a young age I was able to pick up on the cultural cues that influence trends. I felt comfort in the fact that I shared a similar mindset with the fashion world.
R!c – Baseball caps and toques are the norm for Vancouver. What other styles exist?
Dom – Race hats (horse racing) are: Fascinators, Whimsies and Perches. Traditional hats are: Top Hats, Cloches and the 1920’s style. Pork Pies, Bowlers and Fedoras are common men’s hats.
Hats also have seasonal influences. In the spring you’ll see wide brimmed sun hats. Summer brings out contemporary colorful straw hats for those that want to make a bold statement. In the fall you’ll see more romantic, vintage pieces.
R!c – In old B/W movies everyone used to wear hats. Today hats are special occasion pieces. What’s your perspective on millinery?
Dom – The 1920s – 1950s was the golden age of millinery. I absolutely believe there is a place for “traditional millinery” but I believe we ALSO have to push the envelope and evolve the art to keep it in line with the fast paced fashion industry.
R!c – What are some common misconceptions you have to overcome?
Dom – Women will try on one or two hats and if it doesn’t immediately impress them then they feel they don’t look good in hats. How many women do you know would say they don’t look good in jeans after trying on two pairs?
You need to take the shape of the person’s face into consideration. Sometimes tipping a hat a different way will give a woman the amazing look she expects.
R!c – What are some of the typical challenges you face?
Dom – On one hand, people are expecting to spend $30 at H&M. On the other hand they are quite willing to spend hundreds of dollars on labels because they are status symbols.
Sadly, there’s a disconnect with haute couture (hand made pieces) because people assume you can cut corners to lower your price. Sure I could use cheaper fabrics and a glue gun but there’s no satisfaction in compromising my standards. I can trace the fabric I buy back to the factory where it’s made. Basically there’s an educational component to help people understand my work and the value I bring.
R!c – Well, let’s help people understand the process. Please describe your business.

Client Pieces

I have two consultation meetings with my clients. In the first meeting
they choose the style, fabric and color of the hat. During their second
visit they pick the finishing details. Delivery takes 3 – 4 weeks from
the first meeting.
Collection Pieces

My collection pieces are for fashion photo shoots and runway shows.
They are unique, very creative art forms. It gives me a chance to
experiment, play with materials and figure out how to make
a new idea work.
1. Pick your hat’s wooden shape
2. Pick your hat’s color


3. Pick your hat’s fabric
4. Steaming (to soften) the fabric


5. Stretching over a wood block
6. Pinned to a wood block


7. Ready to set for 24-hours
8. Wiring preserves the shape


9. Hand sewn metal or nylon wire
10. Pick your hat’s trim & ribbon


11. Invisible stitching the trim
12. Invisible stitched ribbon
1. I sketch then select the fabric
2. I added a buckram to this piece


Close-up of hand-painted lace
Worn on the runway

Collection Pieces in Print and on the Runway

Editorial Photo Shoot – Johnny Se Photography
Hive Mind runway show, Vancouver 2013 – Kuna Photography
Editorial Photo Shoot – Paul Behm Photography
New York Fashion Week 2013 – TUR Photography

Contact Info

R!c – What enjoyment do you receive from making hats?
Dom – I like the feeling when something awakens in a client as a result of trying something different and unique.
R!c – Where can people reach you?
Dom –

Jason Matlo 10th Anniversary Fashion Show

Oct, 10th, 2014


Before the Show

Jason attending to last minute details with his assistants. This is the view the models had as they walked down the mirrored runway.
Solitude between primping. Stephanie wore the bridal gown
A Make-up Artist’s toolbox, La Biosthetique did the show’s hair & make-up
Ava, Miss BC 2013/14 & Founder of the Innocence Lost Foundation
Shoes, shoes and more shoes!
28 pieces on 1 rack

Bring your daughters to work AND a fashion show!

Let the Show Begin!

Jenna Talackova
Jessi – Jason’s favorite outfit!
Jessi – R!c’s favorite outfit! Jessie has a fierce walk!
Jenna Talackova
The audiencce gasped with delight when Jessi appeared!
This was also my favorite outfit
Ava Vanderstarren has a fierce walk!

Seen @ the Show

Jason & Donna, Donna was a Brilliant 2014 Fashion Show Organizer
Aurora, Jason & Miranda (Bloggers)
Michelle, ?, ? & Phillip Jung, La Biosthetique General Mgr.
The warm & charming Myriam Laroche (center)
Myriam is the Founder of Eco Fashion Week
My only shot of a stunning but shy guest!
Designer Carlie Wong

1 on 1 with Mr. Matlo

I’ve seen Jason many times throughout Vancouver. We’ve met at Eco Fashion Week, the Deighton Cup and most recently the Brilliant 2014 Charity Fashion Show. A couple days after his 10th anniversary show we had a lengthy discussion about fashion and design.
R!c – Your 10th anniversary show took place on October, 10th. Was this a coincidence or was it planned?
JMat – It was the date the Fairmont Pacific Rim was available. Normally I launch my collection in Sept. but the stars aligned for 10–10–10.
R!c – 10 years! Wow, what would you do differently if you were starting today?
JMat – Mistakes can be expensive so I would take business courses early on. Secondly, I would have accepted Helen Le Feaux’s offer to train as her apprentice. I would have studied with her for two years to learn the art of European Haute Couture.
R!c – H&M seems to be the measuring stick for cost.   Your work is priced considerably higher for many reasons. Do you feel you need to educate people about your craftsmanship and effort?
JMat – No, because I’ve built my business one woman at a time. I don’t advertise so personal referrals are essential. My goal is for each woman to feel amazing so they understand the quality they’re buying.
R!c – Where and who do you like to see wear your dresses?
JMat – It’s most thrilling when I see a real woman on the street wearing my designs. Once in Manhattan I saw a lady wearing one of my dresses. And to my surprise she recognized me! She was Canadian but it was still an amazing experience.
R!c – Does your design process start with fabric, color or the world around you?
JMat – It always starts with the touch and feel of the fabric.   I’ll loosely sketch a few pieces then move to a mannequin. It’s more about reacting to what I see and taking a build-as-I-go approach. I don’t always see the end beforehand.

R!c – If you could seat anyone in the front row of your next show, who would you pick and why?
JMat – Grace Coddington (American Vogue’s Creative Director). She has an interesting and unique point of view.
R!c – If you could pick any model to walk in your next show, who would you pick and why?
JMat – Linda Evangelista.   In the 1990s she was very versatile and had an individual and almost unconventional look.
R!c – If you could dress any celebrity, past or present, who would you like to see walk into your studio?
JMat – I’m not enamoured with celebrities but Beyonce can wear almost anything. She’s the whole package with looks, face and body.
R!c – Who are your fashion idols?
JMat – Alexander McQueen! I like John Galliano for cut and design. I feel most akin to Tom Ford in terms of brand and the whole aesthetic. I like the classic designs of Dior, YSL and Oscar de la Renta. I love cutting, drafting and old school dress making.
R!c – Your work consists of: Collection, Bridal and Babe lines. What’s next?
JMat – Bridesmaid dresses. Often times my bridal customers inquire about dresses for their wedding party so it’s a natural progression.

R!c – What non-fashion activities do you enjoy?
JMat – I like books and old movies that show the human spirit. I like to see/read what makes people tick.   “Auntie Mame” is one of my favorite movies.
It’s been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for your time and I look forward to the next time we meet!

Romielle Pre-Collection Party

Nov, 30th, 2013

Iryna, Anastacia & Micah

When Anastacia and her girlfriends arrived at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW, September 2013) they literally turned heads with their hats, heels and Romielle (pre-collection) dresses.
Today Anastacia held a private sample sales event for close friends, fashionistas and bloggers. It was also an opportunity to see more of her pre-collection. Incidentally, Romielle is a combination of her two daughter’s names: Romi and Lielle. She’ll team-up with her mom Irina who has 30 years of tailoring experience.
The event was held in the breathtaking West Vancouver home of her girlfriend. I arrived when it was dark but I was told English Bay could be seen from the living room! Guests were treated to chocolate candies, wine and a variety of sliced meats and cheeses. The washroom doubled as a change room for guests wanting to try on outfits before making a purchase.
The event featured three distinct collections:

  1. Romielle – Classic, elegant and sophisticated style.   This line is suited for dressy social functions. Click Romielle to visit her site.

  3. Drama Queen – Moving forward this name will represent her business of importing private designer dresses.

  5. Olya Shishkina – Extremely soft leather jackets with amazing zipper details. Yes, Olya is from the London-based Xsenia & Olya label.
    Click Xsenia & Olya to see highlights of their Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

It was a nice evening for nibbling, mingling and impromptu photo shooting. I look forward to seeing the full Romielle collection at VFW in March 2014.

Gala was very comfortable in front of the camera.
Is it a purse? Is it for carrying wine? It’s both, it’s a Wine Croc Purse! This was bought at True Fab.

Drama Queen

Yana, browsing the rack of DQ imports…
I learned Yana is Gala’s Hair Stylist
Gala, hmmm I think I’ll try this one…
Gala mentioned she modeled in the past.
You can’t have an outfit without accessories!
Dasha (an aspiring Designer) having a chat with Irina (Anastacia’s mom and Romielle partner)

Olya Shishkina

Oh so soft…
Every jacket was a different color and a different design!
Amazing zipper details!
Dasha is a Designer inspired by Alexander McQueen
Yana relaxing after a night of shopping and modeling!

Fashion Designer – Barbara Hulanicki

Oct, 2nd, 2011














I must confess I knew very little about Barbara Hulanicki or her iconic label Biba when I attended her interview at the Convention Center. It wasn’t until I wrote this blog that discovered how she revolutionized the fashion world.
Currently we take for granted our ability to buy clothes in a range of colors, styles and fabrics. However, that wasn’t always the case. According to the Vancouver Sun article, “Life Beyond Biba”, if a woman in 1960’s London wanted something fashionable, she had order it from a European fashion house. It typically took months to arrive. Otherwise, she would have to be content with the prevailing restrictive styles and colors limited to brown or beige.

Accessories Designer – Daniela

Oct, 2nd, 2011


I arrived early to get a good seat for the Barbara Hulanicki interview.  Minutes later an attractive lady sat next to me.  She had a warm smile and a Canon camera.  We easily struck up a conversation about photography and fashion.  When I asked about her unique headband, she mentioned it was one of her designs!  In fact she’s partners with two other women and their online business is based out of Venezuela.
Later that evening I visited her site.  Some of the headbands had a vintage look while others were more contemporary.  They even had a bridal hair piece but my favorite was the “Chan”.  It’s a very simple pleated black velvet collar.  It would look perfect with a black strapless cocktail dress.
There’s lots of pictures and information to view.  So keep your eyes open for links in unique places.


Be sure to visit Oh! Nena when you have a moment.