That would describe Marie Gray, creator of St. John Knits. When I was growing up, her designs were my mom’s favorite, so naturally when she made an appearance in our hometown, I really wanted to meet her. What impressed me most was that even though I was only ten, and clearly not a customer, she stayed late just to chat with me.
Today, I’m sharing Marie Gray’s inspiring story and featuring this St. John masterpiece. I love how the gauzy material flows. Now where’s that fancy ball?
Marie was born in Yugoslavia and raised in the grip of World War II, surviving on meager means. At the age of nine, with bombs erupting overhead, she escaped to Austria. In school, she only had two dresses. She wore them even when they became too small, but she dreamed of clothes “that fit well and were appropriate.”
Eventually, Marie’s family reunited and immigrated to Los Angeles. In order to save money, she bought a knitting machine and decided to make her own dresses. By then, this beautiful, intelligent lady had landed a Vanna White-type job on TV and modeled high-end clothes. When other models and clothing buyers saw her work, they placed orders…so many that she burst into tears because she didn’t think she could possibly fill them all, but Marie built a successful luxury brand that has lasted 50 years!
I will always be grateful that I was able to meet such a powerful yet feminine woman. At the time I wasn’t hugely into fashion, but somehow Marie knew that one day I would. She knelt down to my level, looked me in the eye, and said, “I think style will become a passion in your life.” She couldn’t have been more right.