By Tomboy KC | Photography by Alyssa Greenberg
As the granddaughter of Grace Kelly’s personal clothier, there is a sense of history in Katie Ermilio’s clothes. The clothing designer’s collections carry with them this sense of structured femininity that feels both old world and modern at the same time. Designing clothes from the time she was twelve, you could easily say that her passion for design is in her blood.
TKC: We usually start our interviews by asking how you got your start in the fashion industry, but for you it seems more like it was in the blood – your grandfather was Grace Kelly’s personal clothier, and even designed the iconic Green Jacket presented at the Masters Tournament in Augusta. What was it like to be a part of a family with such fashion history?
KE: It’s incredible to have grown up in a family clothing company that has such a strong appreciation for clothing and the way things are made. That sense of quality, tradition and history has had one of the most definitive influences on my aesthetic and who I am as a designer.
TKC: Did you ever consider doing something else? Or was designing always the end goal?
KE: Designing was actually never a goal of mine, but something I loved to do from a young age. I had always wanted to work in editorial in magazines.
TKC: What aspect of your work is the most meaningful to you?
KE: Being able to watch the collections come alive. It is an incredible thing to see a drawing become a flat pattern, then a draping, a muslin draft, and finally a collection piece.
TKC: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for Fall 2016?
KE: Fall 2016 was derived from a color palette of greenery and landscapes. The floral velvet flocked chiffon and wool lace are a direct representation of that.
TKC: We know this is a bit like asking you to pick a favorite child, but do you have a favorite piece this season?
KE: Oh I totally have a favorite child in my collections! I usually define those pieces by the ones I can’t wait to wear, and then continue to wear again and again. For fall that’s look 10 and 11, I must have worn each a thousand times already. Find the collection at Dallas’s own Canary right now ☺
TKC: Our favorite thing about your designs is the balance of tailored femininity. When you design, what are you inspired by? Are there any themes or images that you are drawn to in particular?
KE: I’ve always been drawn to that moment in time when women got dressed up. When she’d wear a sheath and gloves to the bank, things like that. I love the idea of treating each part of your day as a special occasion and it’s something I consistently seek to do in my work.
TKC: What does your work “uniform” look like (i.e., what would we find you in if we popped in to your office)?
KE: Jeans, always! I am constantly in fittings and running around working on pieces for the collections and my clients. Jeans are my perfect uniform because I can slip into a blouse and Chanel flats and I’m ready for a meeting in an instant.
TKC: Name one beauty product you couldn’t live without.
KE: I have a few…
TKC: Coffee or tea?
TKC: Mascara or lipstick?
TKC: What’s your favorite emoji?
TKC: What was the last song playing on your iPhone/iPod?
KE: Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd.
TKC: If you could collaborate with one artist or designer, who would it be?
KE: Definitely something in cosmetics. I love the beauty world.
TKC: What advice would you give to 22 year old Katie?
KE: To continue to try to do what you love as much as possible, designing clothes.