St. John Pre-Fall 2021

Is St. John cool? It’s on the way.

Even before Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stepped out in suffragette white on election weekend, power pants suits were all the rage in Hollywood. And Southern California-based St. John, which dressed plenty of power players in its first heyday, is well positioned to satisfy the appetite for a tailored, sometimes-tweed, new American power uniform under its new creative director Zoe Turner.

Even during quarantine Turner’s clothing has garnered visibility (and Instagram likes) on celebrities in their own backyards and beyond — Kristen Stewart paired the brand’s wide-leg blue twill trousers with a black knit bra; Tessa Thompson rocked a gold-buttoned black boucle knit jacket and wide-leg plisse knit pants; Emily Blunt posed in a burgundy second-skin viscose turtleneck and fuchsia skirt, and Lily Collins appeared in a spidery black lace sweater and yellow tweed pencil skirt.

St. John Pre-Fall 2021

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“I’m really proud all these women want to wear our clothes and are recognizing St. John has moved on and it’s a new day,” Turner said. “Everyone is excited to see the new types of product we’re making now, and the possibilities. The trousers have been really well received because obviously it’s something new for the brand. We’re not going to go away from the skirt and jacket suit, but it’s about offering something new to go with that jacket.”

For pre-fall, Turner looked to further broaden her vision for the St. John wardrobe by applying tailoring to more casual silhouettes like an oversize mélange tweed hoodie that works over wide trousers or can double as a dress; a cool, tailored-at-the-waist tweed T-shirt and jogging pants, and a gauzy knit work shirt that can be worn open as a jacket or buttoned up over pants as a matched tweed set.

“There’s a more relaxed attitude that highlights how versatile knitwear really is,” said the British-born knitwear specialist, who worked at Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti and Dior under John Galliano and Raf Simons, and consulted for St. John for eight months before being hired for the top job in October 2019.

Soft-tailored silk boucle jackets featured a new, round-cut sleeve, and Italian woven suits are a showcase for the brand’s signature Eighties-era gold buttons. (Jeweled statement buttons, also seen in Oscar de la Renta’s pre-fall, suddenly look fun again.) Tiffany blue second-skin viscose tops and long silk plisse skirts, and a pale orange cady handkerchief style dress added pops of color, which Turner said were inspired by Southern California sunsets.

“Once we get done with this pandemic, I hope we get to be dressing the red carpet, too,” said the designer, who has been enjoying the California weather this winter. “We just have to be patient that we will get over this moment so we can have some fun.”

Hear, hear.

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