Meet Kelly Gray, St John model before Angelina Jolie, before Gisele Bundchen, and long before Karen Elson took over the job as the face of the successful fashion juggernaut. She is the original St John girl and very very blond. Unfortunately blonde is a hair color out of vogue in the company, as is brunette. As is, apparently, old. See Kelly Gray’s photos and read her brief biography here.
Beautiful Karen Elson is a flaming young redheaded model with a gorgeous face and penetrating eyes. She replaces the most famous brunette face in the world, Angelina Jolie who fronted the St John brand for several seasons. With a couple of years of Gisele (auburn hair) thrown in between just for fun, we see a full spectrum transition from blond-haired Kelly Gray. What are we to think?
As a biography Kelly Gray is the lucky 41-year-old daughter of the founders of St John, Robert and Marie Gray. They started the brand in 1962 before Kelly was even born. She was the first recognizable face to promote St John fashions and did so for 20 years until Gisele was handed the gig in 2005.
She continues to work at the company, but just like Angelina will no longer be featured in their advertising campaigns. As insider Glenn McMahon puts it, Angelina began to “overshadow” the brand with her famous face. He said that St John wants to “make a clean break from actresses and steer away from blonde’s and cleanse the palette.”
Steer away from blonds? What’s wrong with blonds and what is wrong with my palette? I like Kelly Gray.
Kelly Gray is a rocking face. She may be a little old for the modeling contract so just say so. And if you can’t settle on a favorite hair color, just say that too. But cryptic talk of “steering away” from hair colors seems a bit of a dodge to my blond self.
I also recognize that St John knows what they are doing. They have built a fantastic brand that is one of the most recognized in the fashion world. Karen Elson is younger. Isn’t that the way it always goes in advertising? Perhaps St Gray is too tactful to say they wanted a younger model. Angelina was older, as was Gisele when she was replaced, as was Kelly Gray. Is this really about hair color?
At least Kelly Gray is not starving for work. She is a legacy after all and undoubtedly has her inheritance coming when she is old and gray. Plus she is gainfully employed again as a VIP staffer within the company. Kelly Gray was named President of St. John Knits way back in 1996 a stint which she held until 2005 when a venture capital firm invested in the company. She was Creative Director and a VP before that gig. Good for her. Kelly returned to the company with her mother in late 2007 and now serves in a mysterious consulting capacity with their design team.
Her interests including ballroom dancing and horseback riding. Kelly would be great on Dancing with the Stars! Nip/Tuck is her favorite TV show and House is second. She likes doctors. You go girl!
The pictures of Kelly Gray shown below with an unidentified companion (boyfriend?) are from Fashion Week three years ago. You can blow them up and discover that she is totally hot. In the video she discusses strategy about fashion promotion at St John.
Kelly Gray Video