St. John was founded forty-five years ago by Robert and Marie Gray. The company's simple beginnings started when a knitting machine inspired Marie, then a young fashion model, to design dresses for herself. Her innovative pieces quickly drew attention, first from friends, and then from specialty retailers who began to place orders. As interest continued to spread, her entrepreneur husband Robert recognized the strong business potential and began taking orders from exclusive stores. Virtually overnight, St. john Knits was launched. Since that fortuitous beginning, St. John has expanded far beyond its origin of a small family business. St. John is widely recognized in the fashion industry for its innovative and extensive manufacturing capabilities, including the twisting and dyeing of its own brand of wool and rayon yarns and the finishing of garments with handmade enameled buttons and jewelry.