From their website:
St. John was founded in 1962 by Robert and Marie Gray. A knitting machine inspired Marie, then a young fashion model, to design simple knit dresses. Her entrepreneur husband, Robert Gray, recognized the strong business potential and began taking orders from specialty retailers. The brand found instant success among customers who appreciated the elegant, versatile knits. Marie Gray served as both the first face of St. John and the chief designer, as the Grays worked out of a 500 square foot factory in Southern California, with just 6 knitters. From the beginning, Marie was focused creating designs of impeccable quality. Constant innovation led to the discovery of the famous Santana® knit, St. John’s signature blend of wool and rayon.