Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ask - Jennifer Parry Dodge of Ermie

I'm so excited by the previews Jennifer is releasing for her coming Ermie goodies. These prints, my goodness! And the fabrics? Belgian linen lined with silk so pretty I'd be tempted to wear the garments inside out sometimes. Jennifer's also doing some basics in solids this season - hand dyed solids, of course.  

Jennifer's line is one of the most inspiring and exciting around, and I love that she chose to name her line after the woman who supported her creativity throughout her life, her Aunt 'Ermie', Ermengarde Vincencia Cuhel. 

Can we talk about the name, Ermengarde? I really love it, from it's formal version to it's nickname. Ermengarde has variants Irmingard and Irmgard, and has a host of dignitary namesakes. It also calls to mind for me the names Hildegarde, and Ermentrude. These are all such strong names (Hildegard quite literally so).  

I'm also a fan of the names Jennifer has selected for her garments; they really echo so well the aesthetic. You will find the following on Ermie garments (past and present): Solstice, Canyon, Zuma, Topanga, Tigerlily, Fire Season, Mariposa (butterfly, moth), Cloudburst.

Jennifer's blog is a real treasure, too, isn't it?  I always find such interesting things there. This post on the Japanese art of Bokeh comes to mind. 

Let's talk to Jennifer.

--what do you need going on around you to work? 
I’m usually by myself, and I need something to listen to in the background. It’s usually KCRW (local radio station)/ NPR. I really should listen to more music, as NPR starts to repeat it’s stories after a few hours, and can be a bit heavy emotionally.

--two favorite things in/about your home (other than family/pets)?
I like that it’s an older home- a bungalow built in 1923, and that we have quite a bit of land for our neighborhood. I’m especially loving our front yard this year. We landscaped it last year, and it made a huge difference. It’s so lush, and I love that it’s made up of mostly native, drought resistant plants. Lots of succulents, cacti, and sage. The smell of the sage is luscious.

--favorite drink and snack right now for busy time?  

Almond Milk, or almond butter on a brown rice cake, a hard boiled egg or a bit of good charcuterie or cheese.

--you can go anywhere in the world and can leave today, where are you going"
--what are you doing there?
Experience everything that I possibly can! 
--what must you bring back
I wouldn’t necessarily come back, but if I had to return: locally produced new and vintage textiles, ceramics, Japanese paper, and art, fashion and crafting books. Mina Perhonen, Eatable of Many Orders, Issey Miyake, Tsumori Chisato, and Cosmic Wonder clothing & accessories by the trunk load (I can dream, right?).

--do you know how her Aunt got her lovely name, any anecdotes about it to share"
I don’t unfortunately. I do know that it is German in origin, and Ermen means “Whole” “Universal” –garde means “Enclosure.” We just always called her Aunt Ermie or Erm.

--any names you love right now?

Andrin Paul, who is my new godson. Giangiacomo, the name of my other beloved godson. Tomory- my husband’s name.
I also like my mom’s first name; Judy, and I love her mother’s first name; Lillian. My mother in law’s name; Madeleine is so pretty, and her mother’s name; Jermaine (although we always called her Gigi). My brothers in law have great names: Alexander Leeman Dodge & John Constantine Bentley Dodge. My sister in law, Satoko, also has a beautiful name.

--name game:
1. a favorite fabric or color
Turquoise. Voile.

2. a favorite designer/artist whose name you love

I like how these names appear as written & sound--they are fun to pronounce:
Polly Apfelbaum, Eva Hesse, Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe. Yoko Ono. Vashti Bunyan. Mia Doi Todd. Beatrice Valenzuela. I also love my friend Hadley Holliday’s name!

Such a fantastic list of names, Jennifer! If I had to do a paring with just two from each list, it'd be Beatrice Turquoise. From Jennifer's list of family names,I'd pick pairings Judy Satoko and Tomory Constantine (too many great names there not to play with them!) 

 It was just so much fun chatting with you, Jennifer - thank you for sharing and inspiring! 

Are you guys excited for the release of the new Ermie pieces?  I am so delighted with each season, and I can't wait to see more! Any favorite names here? 

(images: courtesy and © of Jennifer Parry Dodge @ Ermie)


  1. I hadn't heard of Ermie before, so I went to the site to check it out...I love the Solstice Print dress! So pretty (sold out, though)! Solstice would also be a lovely name. Sol for short.

  2. eBirdie, this reminds me that I forgot to include the names of her garments in my post, so I'm off to edit. and yes, the Solstice is a beautiful dress, and name -- love anything that can get to 'Sol'!

  3. what a refreshing and delightful blog!
    i loved reading about all those names!

    Jennifer - your family has amazing names! wow!
    I have always loved the name Lillian... so pretty
    i really love old fashion names, so reading your family tree made me smile.

    and YES! I am SO excited for ERMIE's new line! Jennifer is super talented and really inspiring!


  4. Lauren, thank you. Yes, this a family chock-full of name treasures and talents - my gosh!

    and funny -- I was just visiting your blog a few days ago for the first time. small world.

  5. Ermengarde is the name of one of the little girl in The Little Princess.

  6. Its interesting to see Andrin. Its a Romansch name that I have only ever seen used in Switzerland.