polo club austin First Augusta Green Jacket patch on display for U
Open will have a chance to view a unique token of golfing history related to another top golf tournament: The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club.
A patch from the first green jacket awarded to champions will be on display at Ermilio Clothier Specialty Shop, Ltd. Open. Owner Bob Ermilio’s father, Arthur, designed that initial green jacket, a happenstance which came about through his affiliation with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a member of Augusta.
The bright, Kelly green jacket was first donned by Sam Sneed, the winner of the Augusta in 1949. The champion was required to return it to the clubhouse the next year, although traditionally, the legendary jacket remains in the clubhouse except for a first time champion, according the club’s website. Only Gary Player flouted that rule, taking the trophy jacket home to South Africa with him. Since the 1930s, members of Augusta had worn green jackets to identify themselves to guests.
Founded in 1904 by Bob’s grandfather, Anthony Ermilio, the bespoke clothing business is now entering its fourth generation, with Bob and Kate Ermilio’s daughter, Katie, 27, whose line of clothing is wowing the New York fashion world.
Before his father, Arthur Ermilio, passed away from cancer in 1990, Bob Ermilio asked him to write down the story of how the Masters green jacket came to be. In that letter, Arthur Ermilio wrote: “A committee from the club seeking to obtain a superb quality fabric in a shade of green that would be attractive, readily identifiable and worthy of the Augusta National Masters jacket commissioned Ermilio’s to use its connections with the finest manufacturers in England to accomplish that end. Fabric swatches were obtained and submitted to the committee. The fabric chosen came from Hunt Winterbotham Mills in the West of England.”
Ermilio’s made three jackets from that tweed fabric, including one for Eisenhower.
The family normally keeps the Masters patch, a family heirloom, in a safe deposit box. About 15 years ago someone offered Ermilio $10,000 for it but “it’s not for sale,” he said.
Previously, Arthur Ermilio had designed the World War II bomber jacket worn by then Gen. Eisenhower. government with an eye toward saving fabric, Ermilio said.
“This goes back to post World War I, where your uniform was more important than your civilian clothes,” said Ermilio. “So consequently they were double breasted, long sport coats that took a lot of yardage. Wearing this shorter version of a waisted waistband Monty look saved almost a yard of material.”
There were shortages of many commodities during the World War II era. government money,” he said. “For example, DuPont hired Ermilio to design using fabric made from blended wool and Dacron, the first Dacron and wool sport suit and material. That suit was given and worn by Dwight Eisenhower. It was the first ever cut to test synthetics with a possibility [that there might be] no supply of wools from Europe and Australia.”
Not to drop names but in addition to Eisenhower, Ermilio’s father was the clothier for Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco; the Bouvier family, starting with Jack Bouvier, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ father; Henry Kissinger; President Gerald Ford and other American luminaries. That is a tradition that Bob and his wife, Kate, continue, although they are a bit reticent to name their current clients, who value discretion.
And their daughter, Katie, following in the venerable Ermilio business, created designs that have caught the eye of singer Taylor Swift who wore one of Katie’s dresses for the cover of her recent Red album Kristin Chenoweth, and other stars. Katie Ermilio, who is based in New York City, developed her own couture clothing line, which can be purchased at Barney’s, Garter Rob of Russia in Moscow and Symphony in Dubai. She was listed as one of Forbes 30 under 30 and a critic dubbed her the “next Chanel.”
The couple’s younger daughter, Megan, 18, also an artist, is a freshman at NYU and is playing the lead in the university’s production of “Ragtime.” Singing is also in her background, her proud father said. His grandmother, Claudia Muzio, a mezzo soprano, sang with Caruso. Both daughters graduated from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr. Olympic team.
“We just finished with the Devon Horse Show,” he said. And just before that there was the Radnor Hunt crowd to be outfitted. Kate Ermilio has been very active in fox hunting over the years, he said. As if that wasn’t enough, in November The Wall Street Journal rated Ermilio the number one coat maker for shooting apparel in the country.
The Haverford shop has a homey ambience, with equestrian art, porcelain knickknacks, a Person rug and comfy leather chairs. To welcome golfers to the shop, the dcor will include some golfing artifacts, including a needlepoint stool with a golf scene. Also, attire for golfers will be available. Ermilio makes jackets for a number of country clubs, and is affiliated with Pebble Beach.
As if that wasn’t enough, in November The Wall Street Journal rated Ermilio the number one coat maker for shooting apparel in the country.
“My daughter got some of her latent talent from me,” he said. “I used to design women’s [clothing] at Berdorf’s.” He flipped through a raft of his drawings for evening gowns gathered into a leather scrapbook. and beyond.
Kate Ermilio helps the business with her administration and marketing skills. at a half dozen locations, she said. The fabrics come from Italy and Great Britain. While many Ermilio garments are “bespoke” or completely made to measure for a specific person, there are some jackets for men and women that are premade and then adjusted, she said.
“I do a little bit of everything,” she said. Open.
Kate Ermilio said that her father in law, Arthur, was a “humble, quiet guy,” but also “a very vibrant guy.” Before he died, Arthur Ermilio came in and thanked everyone who worked for him, she said.
Her husband once asked her how he would be remembered, Kate Ermilio said.
“You are going to be remembered for the most important thing of all,” she told him. “So many firms sold out to the Chinese because of cheap labor. We didn’t do that.” Bob Ermilio held onto his business and kept the work here in America, she said, even though “he was pushed between a rock and a hard place.” Ermilio Clothier is the oldest custom clothing shop in the country, she stated.
“It’s hard to compete with people making $22 a month,” Kate Ermilio said. Overseas, clothing “could be made by 7 year old kids tied to sewing machines.”