Things V Love: The New St. John

Things V Love: The New St. John

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Things V Love: The New St. John

V talks with Creative Director Zoe Turner about the brands latest releases and what the future of the iconic American brand looks like.

V talks with Creative Director Zoe Turner about the brands latest releases and what the future of the iconic American brand looks like.

Text: Kevin Ponce

Founded in 1962, St. John has always been a brand known for their brilliant and versatile use of knit fabrics. With striking campaigns and silhouettes created to elevate a woman's look, the brand has remained a timeless American classic. Fast forward to the present day, Creative Director Zoe Turner is opening a new chapter for the American fashion house. Hailing from the likes of Christian Dior, Alberta Ferretti, and Max Mara, Turner is certainly determined to bring in a bright new perspective for the modern woman, and with a walkthrough of the pre-fall lineup for 2021, this certainly is not the St. John you would expect. It’s fresh, sharp, vibrantsimply put, it’s effortlessly cool. With new pieces for the brand being included in the mix, (think luxe accessories and loose fitting hoodies and trousers, with an impeccably tailored touch), Turner explains how the evolution of of the brand’s classic fabrics has peaked new dawn, saying “That's sort of the whole ideal; it’s to really show what the capabilities are within it—where you can do pretty much anything with knitwear. That's what makes it such a beautiful, versatile material.”

V’s Kevin Ponce spoke with the newly appointed director about her pre-fall 2021 collection, the newly launched must-have bag of the season, and what's to come for the famed fashion house. 

Kevin Ponce: I love the color story used throughouteverything's in this sort of muted and soft palette. Was there any inspiration or meaning behind it?

Zoe Turner: The colors were really sort of inspired by the yarns and putting all those beautiful individual fibers together which created all of these beautiful, signature tweets. So it really came very naturally from that, this time.

KP: Does that often happen, when the materials inspire the collection? 

Courtesy of St. John

ZT: It does because we honestly use the most beautiful materials and we just have access to all of these beautiful sorts of colors that are really inspiring. So, oftentimes that does really inspire them. I just love to share the new ways of how we can work with these textiles. I just think it's a really nice and unexpected way. I  think you don't see it that often and it just works so well. So I think it's really nice to show what you can do with the textiles and the capabilities of St. John as well because the expertise is just incredible in the craftsmanship.

KP: Total versatility in all aspects is really what I see in the new St. John!

ZT: Exactly! I just really want to continue to play with that ease and the freedom of knitwear. Apart from it, really sort of working and lending itself to like hard times right now. I just think it's really a wonderful material and you can do so much with it. 

Courtesy of St. John

KP: Let’s talk about the chic, new handbags that were released. I see the bags on every single one of these looks and it doesn't overpower any of them, which is what I like. This is a new category for St. John, right? 

ZT: Absolutely! I wanted to really build on the full lifestyle experience. So, the 'Loop' bag was the first step really. You know, St John's started with a single knit stitch and the metal detail that you see on the bag is a single knit stitch, so that's why we named the bag the 'Loop'. Following that for Spring, we also introduce footwear, so hopefully, we're going to continue to add to our offerings moving forward as well next year.

KP: You can really incorporate it in the daytime and the nighttime and it works with everything! I'm really obsessed with that loop hardware—it's such a clever way of incorporating the codes of St. John into a way consumers wouldn't really know.

The 'Loop' Bag

ZT: What's nice about the bag as well is that it has this kind of soft, sort of edge to it, but with structure and that really is very symbolic of knitwear and everything that we're doing within the collections as well. Knitwear is soft but with our tailoring, there’s structure so there are the two elements mixed together to create this hybrid of the bag.

KP: Why was venturing into the world of luxury accessories the next step for St. John?

ZT: It was important for us to really cement our position in the luxury market. I think that leather goods are so important and it's important that we have that in the collections, along with the bags, accessories, and jewelry as well—which is another iconic element of St. John and we're definitely going to be expanding on that in the future. 

Courtesy of St. John

KP: When creating the accessories, do you go based on what the clothing looks like for that particular collection, or are you sort of imagining the two as the season develops? 

ZT: It can happen a couple of ways. St. John has an archive full of all [sorts] of jewelry pieces [and] it's like a treasure trove. It was really important to see that because even though the jacket is so important for the brand, St.John actually started with a knitted belted dress and that's a very important piece from [the brand's] history and that metal detail, I just found really inspiring. It stuck with me that it would be very important to make this kind of element of the collections very evident. When I first started at St John, it was important for me to connect with the heritage, identify those codes, and build the foundations of what all collections start with.

KP: Do you find yourself tapping into the archives when you're feeling stuck or do you sort of follow your instinct based only on what you know? 

Courtesy of St. John

ZT: It is a lot about instincts. I'm very inspired by being here and there's so much diversity here which I love, from the environment to the music and film scene, everything. Obviously, because of what's going on in the world, it's difficult to really explore right now, but nevertheless, I'm inspired by so many different things here. So, it is based on instinct, but it's also about what I absorb around me constantly every day.

KP: Who do you see the St. John customer being today? 

ZT: Let's face, [St. John] was started by a pretty strong and fearless lady that wanted her ideas to be hers. Ever since then, the brand has had a history of dressing women of influence. I see the brand is for all of these incredible women that [come from] of all walks of life. There's no particular person I'd say that should be wearing it, it's more about a spirit and creating things that women have an emotional response to.

Courtesy of St. John

KP: Going from Dior, Alberta Ferretti, and Max Mara, was there any sort of hesitation for taking over St. John and opening this new chapter for them? 

ZT: Gosh, no! When I came over here, I saw this beautiful factory that needed some love and attention, and it just felt so magical because everything was there. All of these machines, all of the colors of the different yarns, all of the possibilities. You start to meet all of these incredible people that are so talented [and are] waiting to produce beautiful clothes and I just found that so exciting. It was like a child going to a toy shop, it's like ‘wow, what can I do? What can I touch first?’ So it was really exciting and a special moment for me. 

Discover the world of ST. JOHN here!

Credits:

All Images Courtesy of ST. JOHN

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