NEW YORK — Success hasn’t made Marie Gray too confident, even if many of her designs exude the trait.
“There is always this fear of not having the latest in trends, but it’s more about not disappointing your customers,” said Gray, the founding designer of St. John Knits, at a luncheon at Bloomingdale’s Wednesday to celebrate the launch of two St. John shops in the store.
Her favorite items from the fall collection are the $855 classic aubergine wool jacket with tie detail at the neck, and aubergine skirt, $285.
Previously, Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship didn’t sell St. John. That was considered a big omission in the store’s designer lineup, since the brand has a cult-like following. Now, Bloomingdale’s is seriously into the look, having created a 3,500-square-foot St. John shop on the fourth floor, housing evening and suit collections, and a 1,000-square-foot St. John Sport shop on the third floor. The Bloomingdale’s branches in Century City, Calif., and Bridgewater, N.J., will begin selling St. John in August, according to Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive. Bloomingdale’s already sells the brand at its Chestnut Hill, Mass., and Aventura, Fla., stores.
In Manhattan, St. John is also sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and at St. John’s own freestanding store at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street.
During the Bloomingdale’s luncheon, St. John presented its classic elegance, vivid colors and attitude with informal modeling for the crowd of 70 women. In just about two hours, $23,500 of merchandise was sold, and 10 percent of that figure was donated to the international charity Save the Children. Among the crowd, NBC’s Jane Hanson and “Good Morning America’s” Cheryl Washington, as well as Robert Gray, St. John co-founder and husband to Marie, and their daughter and co-president, Kelly.