Change is afoot at St. John. After joining the brand in 2019, creative director Zoe Turner has left the label. During her tenure, Turner used the brand’s signature mumsy tweed in increasingly modern silhouettes: five pocket jeans, bustiers, cargo pants, bodysuits. An alum of Dior and Alberta Ferretti, she brought an experimental sensibility to a brand that had become synonymous with the ladies who lunched of the 1980s. The results were mixed, and also left one wondering who the sculpted tweed corset was really for—but an effort was made.
Spring 2023 is decidedly more familiar. There’s no new designer at the helm, although superstar stylist Karla Welch has joined as a creative consultant. The focus is on St. John’s history as a knitwear house going back seven decades and American sportswear of the ’80s and ’90s. Among the formal, form-fitting dresses in the collection are a white tank dress with a diamond cutout pattern at the bottom (inspired by tennis rackets); a peach sequin long-sleeve evening gown; and a pair of white and black dresses with stitching on the waist that creates the illusion of an hourglass figure and was inspired by the lines on a tennis ball. Matching sets perform well for St. John, and return this season in a brown leather and sparkly pink (these add some resolutely youthful flair to the look book). In fact, the coolest look is a white knit polo shirt and matching shorts. It hits all the St. John trademarks—sportswear, knits, intergenerational appeal—while still feeling fresh and rooted in 2022.