Since executive vice president of design Enrico Chiarparin took the helm of the brand and brought on stylist Karla Welch as a creative consultant, St. John has been focused on seasonless American sportswear. For pre-fall, Chiarparin added a bit of western flair to those staple pieces: tailored jackets, midi dresses, and of course tweed suits. St. John added details like pearl-snap buttons, western yokes and studs, and scarf ties at the neck to the classic silhouettes. Americana has been trending for a few years now, but these touches are so subtle they don’t necessarily read as part of the craze. Chiarparin namechecked Elvis Presley and Katharine Hepburn as inspirations, which illustrates St. John’s more classic outlook. (Though, cowboy boots appear throughout the lookbook to drive the point home).
The brand is known for its tweed jackets, and the star this season is a cream boxy number with fringe along the pockets and jumbo pearly buttons. Some of the more relaxed, fluid pieces work particularly well: the jumpsuit with a bandana-inspired print, a robe-like royal blue wrap dress, another midi-dress with studs along the neck and wrists. If the goal is to make easy, versatile American sportswear, well, mission accomplished.