Southern California heritage brand St. John has got fresh momentum with new designer Enrico Chiarparin, who has worked everywhere from Calvin Klein to James Perse, and creative consultant Hollywood stylist Karla Welch.
Touching down at New York Fashion Week for the first time since before COVID-19, the brand presented its fall collection to press and retailers. For the look book, they brought back former St. John girl Karen Elson. The strategy now, after the departure of creative director Zoe Turner, and the initial public offering of parent company Lanvin Group, is an evolution in design direction, not a revolution.
The look: Day to night and everything in between, with the brand’s signature tweedy jackets in updated shapes to wear as part of a suit or with your own slouchy jeans. More of an eye on soft, stretch and seasonless dressing.
Quote of note: “There are women our age with money who aren’t always being catered to by fashion,” said Welch, adding that St. John “can be multigenerational.”
Key pieces: Trompe l’oeil calfskin “tweed” skirt suit; black pants suit with slightly boxy blazer and wool jersey shirt with vintage St. John jewelry as buttons; sporty burgundy padded taffeta bomber and side zip skirt; ’70s-looking red and fuchsia Chrysanthemum and Lurex stripe georgette dress with kimono sleeves; gray boiled wool top and skirt set; black tinsel bomber and skirt; stretch glove leather over-the-knee boots produced by sister-brand Sergio Rossi.
Takeaway: There’s enough here to make the brand one to watch again, especially in a season when modern wardrobing pieces are taking center stage.