NEW YORK — When Michelle Obama wore a chic, black St. John jumpsuit on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” late last month, she garnered positive reviews for the look. To executives at the Irvine, Calif.-based firm, that moment also signaled a message loud and clear: St. John Knits’ future under new management is off to a good start.
Since Bernd Beetz invested in St. John last year, became its chairman and poached Geoffroy van Raemdonck from Louis Vuitton to be chief executive officer, the American fashion house has been going through change in order to reach its global potential, not least of which was an investment by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International. Since taking up their posts, the two executives have closely studied the house’s history and business structure to understand the foundation and develop a blueprint for its future. They have now come up with a multifaceted vision that includes the hiring of a creative director; increased innovation in knitwear, which is the brand’s core category; a larger assortment of special occasion and casual luxe lifestyle clothes, and international expansion, particularly throughout Asia.
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