Greg Myler, St. John Collection senior vice president of design, takes us on a journey through the fall/winter 2013 collection, where mid-century modern meets the elegance of the ’70s.
Modern Impression: St. John Collection Abstract Print Silk Charmeuse Dress
THE THREAD: As you find new ways to innovate, what excites you about the future of American sportswear, especially from a British point of view?
GREG MYLER: When you say “innovate,” the interesting thing for me is that we do a lot of events, as you know. [I was recently at the Nordstrom Michigan Avenue store] and it’s always exciting to meet customers. I’m interested to see how they really embrace the newness in the collection. Especially when we offer things sometimes where I go, “Maybe this is a bit too advanced for her,” or “We’re pushing the envelope on it.” It’s such a joy to see those customers get excited about those things.
I also like how there’s a realness to American fashion. Especially our company—we’re very democratic. We offer beautiful clothes for real women who have realistic shapes, which is a very American concept. We’re not trying to do little, skinny, size-zero things that people can’t fit into.
The Cape Detail Fitted Milano Knit Dress was one of your favorite looks from the fall collection. Why does this silhouette stand out so much to you?
GREG: If you look in all the magazines now, the cape was such a huge trend for fall. I think our cape dress was a very elegant way to address this trend for our customer. The look is very sophisticated and easy to wear. We often speak about these pieces as best for dinner with some nice jewelry. Also, I love the fact that this dress is in navy—and navy, again, is a big trend. It has a cool factor as well. I think that’s why it was my favorite.
Cover Me in Cashmere: St. John Collection Fitted Double Face Wool & Cashmere Coat & Double Face Wool & Cashmere Poncho (pre-order)
Recently, you introduced A-line double face cashmere to the collection. What other new shapes or fabrications do you hope shoppers will invest in this season?
GREG: We are really pushing the envelope for our customer in terms of shape. One of my favorite pieces is a double faced cashmere coat (pictured right). It has a very fitted waist. It’s almost a bell shape or a tunic shape, which I think is a great new shape for us. Architectural ruffles were a big trend on the runway. We did a really pretty double faced ruffle detail crepe dress in magenta. As far as material, one of the materials that we really responded to was lace. We also did a lot of these very chic 1970s boot-length knit dresses that are a great investment for fall.
Layering is essential for fall. What items from this collection are your laying must-haves?
GREG: One of the things we’ve used quite a lot as a layering piece in the presentation was a group of variations on a liquid satin blouse. I think the customer will get a lot of mileage from our blouses because she can wear them in so many different ways.
When it comes to sorting through St. John’s knit archives, in which period(s) do you feel the house had its most allure? And how do you approach injecting a new sexiness and edge to the collection while maintaining the brand’s heritage?
GREG: St. John has a 50-year history. When I look at the different time periods from the ’60s to the ’80s, the styling is all relevant to that time, and we try not to really look at that. So what we do focus on is the real DNA of the brand, which transcends all of those different eras and trends and decades, and we make sure that we really offer color and an innovative knit. We make sure to utilize our state-of‑the‑art technology, and of course, novelty is very important in our collection. I think these are just things that make our brand so unique. And as a knit house, we’re known for comfort and ease, so we’re always trying to incorporate that into our garments.
There’s a lot of skin on display at the moment in the media and the world. Our customer is sexy, but she likes to be very elegant. So with fall, you’ll see great covered‑up silhouettes paired with the gloves and boots—the look is chic, yet it leaves something to the imagination.
Embrace understated elegance with St. John Collection for fall.