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Friends from the Floor: Why You Need to Get to Know St. John Now

“Friends from the Floor” is a series dedicated to sharing the latest product obsessions of our Nordstrom sales crew.

Lots of fashion followers know St. John as an American classic. Worn by Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail and Chrissy Teigen on the Met Gala’s red carpet, the collections are all about understated power suiting and powerfully beautiful knits.

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But fashion followers might not know about the brand’s hands-on fabrication in California, its Casablanca-inspired color palettes, or its fresh and youthful appeal.

Felicia Stapleton, however, is fully schooled. Our Seattle St. John specialist just returned from an intensive course in all things knit, crystal-studded and refined, and we got her entire download—as well as a few words straight from Orange County and the St. John headquarters.

1. The house of St. John wants to infiltrate your wardrobe. Pieces like this sporty knit jacket—”Oh, you mean le blouson?” said Felicia with a megawatt smile when we referred to it as a bomber—is meant to go anywhere with anything, from a pair of silk joggers to high-end denim to a beach-combing maxi.

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Same goes for these wide-legged pants, she said. The shape is completely current and totally classic all at once. Part of the St. John workshop Felicia just attended was about putting this adaptability theory to the test; they mixed and matched current pieces and looks all day long, coming up with a dizzying array of ways to wear just about everything.

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2. As adaptable as their pieces are, they’re also highly specialized and unique. “I was like, big smiles,” said Felicia about seeing how the brand has managed to make and maintain its own custom colorations throughout its 50 year history. By operating its own dye factories and employing biochemists to engineer cutting-edge practices, St. John issues vivid, heritage-driven palettes that really make their pieces pop.

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3. The legacy of luxury and artisan-made elegance runs deep and is a part of every piece. From Shonda Rhimes to Sofia Vergara, women of incomparable glamour return to St. John pieces season after season. Felicia keeps a steady eye on the celebs who rock the look, and seeing the St. John factory where careful hands place individual Swarovski stones made it all the more real.

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All campaign images courtesy St. John Collection

Even styles that aren’t necessarily meant for the runway have a way of evoking finery and the handmade best.

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4. St. John’s pre-fall collection is inspired by desert dreams, rich bazaars and the boho life. For example, “iconic textiles of Morocco; geometric prints in neutral tones that capture a blend of Moorish style and European Art Deco” (from the latest official St. John literature). Felicia pulled the pleated look below to show us how these graphic influences take on a fluid shape. Elsewhere in the collection, the mood comes from “traditional textiles, Berber stripes and elegant Arabesques … styles that recall both long-lost centuries and the immediacy of the season.”

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Somewhere between North Africa and France, there’s a story about cabanas and crisp alabaster, bright blue skies and easy prints, and St. John wants you to be a part of it.

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All St. John