Marie’s jaw dropped to the floor, when her future husband handed her their first order for 200 knit dresses. The sample had been made on a whim, and she had hoped the store would order 20 - maybe, if luck was on their side. As a professional model, who went by the surname of St. John, Marie didn’t set out to create a fashion powerhouse.She had simply hoped that a small run of dresses would help fund a romantic Hawaiian honeymoon for her and her future husband. Her fiancé, Robert Gray, on the other hand, apparently had larger plans; and in 1962, debatably by accident, the luxury fashion house of St. John was born.
After 50 years are on the marked, the St. John brand has become a pillar of sophistication, and refinement in the fashion world. The label dominates the knitwear category, and ranks among luxury giants like Chanel, Luis Vuitton, and Hermes; so it’s hard to imagine Mary and Robert Gray working away, as a two man team, in their small garage in Southern California during those first few years. But that’s exactly what the pair did; with Mary managing production and design, and Robert on the business side. Luckily the duo’s cramped quarters didn’t last long.
By 1971, the brand had moved their headquarters from the garage to Orange County, California and had obtained a larger production space. As demand for St. John grew throughout the 1970's, their line was picked up by major department stores like Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Over the years, the brand has evolved, but the basis for the collection remains the same today as it did from the very start — effortless, alluring and refined clothing that boasts a global appeal.
Ever committed to the quality of their product, St. John sourced their fibers from only the best manufacturers, managed all of their own yarn production and dying in house, and even created their own “Jewely Workshop” in the mid-1980’s so that they could have more control over the quality and design of their buttons and embellishments.
The result of Robert and Marie’s hard work: Unique American design with a core in signature innovative knits and an undisputed reputation for luxury and quality.