NEW YORK — I expected to see Kate Winslet at the St. John runway show because she's the face of the brand in advertisements. And indeed, the actress was on the front row in a tight black leather dress at the ornate Ukranian Institute of America, around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
But who knew that Gloria Estefan was a St. John girl?
The "Queen of Latin Pop," known for such hits as "Turn the Beat Around" and "Conga" admits she's flamboyant on stage but, in her personal life, she likes "things that stand the test of time" and are made of beautiful materials.
"When you're doing the celebrity thing you have to be over the top. But my personal taste is very classic."
"When you're doing the celebrity thing you have to be over the top. But my personal taste is very classic. I'm very short (5-ft, 2-in.) so I don't like to go crazy or do things that I can't handle. I'm pretty small," said Estefan, who was outfitted in a cream-colored St. John blouse and slacks and white double-breasted trenchcoat.
There is a lot for St. John fans like Estefan to admire in creative director George Sharp's fall 2012 collection — his first presented in a full-scale runway show. (In the past, St. John has opted for lower-key presentations at the Fifth Avenue store in which the models remain in a static position as guests mill about.)
Working with luxurious fabrics — cashmere, stretch leather, luxe crepe —and colors of black, oatmeal, platinum and red, Sharp created a collection filled with pieces that won't look out of style next season. He said the collection was a tribute to the stylish Loulou de la Falaise, the iconic muse of Yves St. Laurent who made everything look effortless. That carefree yet flawlessly put-together attitude is evidence by the abundance of wide-legged pants, fitted blazers, colorblock dresses, loose sweaters and satin jackets.
And Sharp throws in faux leopard tops and accent pieces— proof that animal prints never go out style.
After the show, Estefan changed out of her St. John ensemble into a fitted black lace dress, where she performed her new song, "Hotel Nacional," at Splash, a well-known gay dance bar. She created a video for the new song as well.
"It's been fantastic. I conceptualized it with my son. We wrote the treatment. I co-directed it with (Dirty Dancing choreographer and director of Michael Jackson: This Is It) Kenny Ortega and I even edited it. A lot of love went into that. My fans are loving it and that makes me very happy," she said.
See Estefan's new "Hotel Nacional" video: