Robert and Marie Gray
Robert and Marie Gray
St. John Knits International Inc., commonly referred as St. John, is an upscale American fashion brand that specialises in women's knitwear. The company is best known for its classic styling and extensive use of primary colors. A St. John's garment can be identified by its knit-in hem (most companies use sewn-in hems). The garments especially appeal to executive women or women in positions of authority, due to the use of gold buttons reminiscent of military or nautical officer clothing. The moderately heavy knits are flattering to women 'of a certain age' or over 40, and accentuate their good features. The St. John Sport line contains slightly trendier, more youthful styles appealing to women in their 30's. All lines feature cruise wear in the winter.
St. John was founded in 1962 by Robert and Marie Gray. A knitting machine inspired Marie, then a young fashion model, to design simple knit dresses. Her entrepreneur husband, Robert Gray, recognized the strong business potential and began taking orders from specialty retailers. The brand found instant success among customers who appreciated the elegant, versatile knits. Marie Gray served as both the first face of St. John and the chief designer, as the Grays worked out of a 500 square foot factory in Southern California, with just 6 knitters. From the beginning, Marie was focused creating designs of impeccable quality. Constant innovation led to the discovery of the famous Santana® knit, St. John’s signature blend of wool and rayon.
Since 1962, St. John has been renowned for creating elegant, versatile designs of impeccable quality. From shimmering palettes to hand-placed crystal mezzos, producing a St. John garment requires expert skill paired with the latest technology. Using the finest wool, a trademark spinning process and custom dyes, St. John creates luxury fashion with legendary style.
The original face of the brand was model Kelly Gray, the daughter of the founders. Following Gray, supermodel Gisele Bündchen became the new face of St. John. Beginning in Spring of 2006, Angelina Jolie became the new face and spokeswoman for St. John. In 2010, St. John announcee that they are replacing Jolie with British supermodel Karen Elson. After a three-year campaign as the face of the company, St. John has announced that they are replacing the actress because Jolie's fame has "overshadowed the brand."
Headquartered in Irvine, California, the brand has its collections and styles sold in specialty stores in 29 countries and 31 company-owned retail boutiques in the United States.