St. John Knits: A global transformation

When Bernd Beetz, CEO of St. John Knits, came on board to steer St. John into the global fashion market, repositioning was one of the first tasks at hand. SelectNY immediately came to mind. Having partnered with the agency numerous times during his tenure as CEO of Coty, Beetz knew SelectNY, helmed by President and Worldwide Creative Director Olivier Rose Van Doorne, could craft St. John’s story into a success story. Here it is, in their words.


What drove your choice of SelectNY?

BEETZ: St. John is 53 years old. SelectNY knows how to tell a modern story that leverages the heritage of a brand. They make the past fresh and relevant for the consumer now. And that’s how to create the foundation of a fashion house that can last…even when so much is changing in the retail landscape.


How did you approach the project?

ROSE VAN DOORNE: Using our signature Brand Epic™ tool, we crafted a narrative for St. John based on three pillars: Golden Coast Glamour, Couture American Style and Accomplice of Accomplishment.

The Brand Epic™ guided every brand decision—it informed store design, convinced the brand to do print for the first time in years, and let us create a full digital experience—which was critical in speaking to a new audience. When Michelle Obama is wearing your clothes, and at the same time, chic 28 year olds are Instagraming it, you’re doing something right.

The results speak for themselves: St. John has experienced a 9200%, increase in social engagement, double digit sales growth for the first time in 10 years, and a 92% increase in social traffic to the brand’s website.


What are the brand’s next steps?

ROSE VAN DOORNE: We’re continuing to elevate St. John to the status of a gilded, crafted label that is recognized as the emblem and enabler of success globally. Fall’s Power Duos campaign speaks to women of purpose everywhere, and has drawn even more customers, merchants, celebrities and press to the brand.

BEETZ: We aspire to dress the most successful women in the world. With the brand aligned behind a strong proposition, we’re poised to do it.