Fashion Island in Newport Beach

St. John is set to shutter its South Coast Plaza boutique, opening a new Orange County flagship and concept store at Fashion Island next year.

The Newport Beach center plucked the knit house from South Coast after more than two decades at the Costa Mesa, Calif., shopping center. St. John is expected to end its run there in January, with an opening date in February at Fashion Island.

Both Orange County shopping centers are celebrating 50th anniversaries this year.

The Irvine Co.-owned, open-air lifestyle center is anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Macy’s. St. John will locate to roughly 3,700 square feet of space, with AG Jeans, Elie Tahari, Alice + Olivia and Lululemon nearby.

“We’re very excited about our new store concept and felt that the most effective way to test it out would be in a new location,” said St. John chief executive officer and president Bruce Fetter in an e-mailed comment. “We believe that this approach speaks to the evolving relationship between retailers and their customers, and the reception it receives will definitely influence our execution in other boutiques.”

Fetter, who was unavailable for an interview, went on to say the Fashion Island space will be designed by O’Neil Langan Architects and described it as “quintessential California coastal living” with a “light and airy color palette in cream and neutral.”

The executive declined to elaborate on the move away from South Coast to Fashion Island, although the latter, given its proximity to the water and the fact it’s an outdoor center, would certainly be more consistent with a coastal-themed concept.

“They’ve always been rich in their own heritage and sophistication and that very much marries to Fashion Island,” said Irvine Co. chief marketing officer Easther Liu. “We marry a lot from a personality standpoint, rooted in a sophisticated, classic but relevant way today, and I think they will very nicely fit into our merchandising mix that already exists at Fashion Island that we’re always constantly evolving.”

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