Directed by: Mario Testino
St. John Knits, commonly referred as St. John, is a luxury American fashion brand that specializes in women's knitwear founded in 1962 by Robert and former model Marie Gray. The company is best known for its classic wool and rayon yarn knits, Chanel inspired jackets, and extensive use of primary colors.
While working in Los Angeles as a model, St John hand knit simple straight knit skirts and matching short sleeved tops for her own use. Her designs proved popular among her fellow models and she began designing and producing samples. Her fiancé at the time, Robert Gray, showed the designs to local retailer Bullocks who ordered 84 dresses.
St John and Gray hired their mothers and another knitter and quickly set about production. The couple, now married, divided duties over the fledgling Irvine, CA business. St John designed the clothes and oversaw production while Gray handled the marketing and sales. Their collections included tailored suits and dresses as well as casual sportswear.
Angelina was seen with the now former president of St. John, Richard Cohen on September 15, 2005 after a meeting in New York and shortly after that Angelina became the face and spokeswoman of the brand. All the three campaigns were shot by photographer Mario Testino and were filmed in Los Angeles, CA.
A team of in-house designers, led by Tim Gardner, a former assistant at Calvin Klein designed the clothes in the campaigns with Angelina, who had input into the looks she wore in the ads.
In June 2008, St. John announced that they were replacing Angelina with the British supermodel and musician Karen Elson. St. John chief executive Glenn McMahon told the magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, "Angelina Jolie overshadowed the brand. We wanted to make a clean break from actresses and steer away from blondes and cleanse the palette. We needed to show a modern point of view of St. John. We are evolving the brand.” In 2011, actress Kate Winslet was named the face of St. John, a position she continues to hold as of 2018.
Magazine Adweek reported that Angelina's campaigns for St. John clothing gave her at least $12 million, plus an undisclosed percentage of the company's sales, over three years. Some of the salary was planned for a children's charity.
"Mother, actress, and a philanthropist."
- Richard Cohen, St. John's CEO
"You know I can’t give you the shoot dates but she is definitely a part of that creative team and I’m proud to be a part of it."
- Kelly Gray, creative consultant and former creative director
"We lost our way for a while with the product. We’ve got the business back on track. Things are proceeding really well."
- Jim Kelley, St. John chairman