Believe it or not, the acid-green neon ensemble was from St. John — and we've got all the details on how it came to be.
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Katy Perry St John Knits Instagram
Credit: Instagram/KatyPerry

Fashion darling Katy Perry — you, know the Katy Perry that wore a chandelier and then changed into a hamburger dress at the Met Gala — isn't afraid to get provocative with her looks. Whether she's performing in Las Vegas alongside a larger-than-life toilet, clad in fringed white gloves and a turban, or sitting at the American Idol judges' table in an embellished gown with cutouts straight down the center, her love of boundary-pushing fashion is clear to just about everyone.

One of Perry's recent looks, however, may give even the most die-hard fashion fanatics whiplash. The margarita-green corset-and-cargos combo she wore? That wasn't from one of her go-to labels (yet, at least). Instead, the custom-made outfit came from St. John, the Orange County, CA-based line more known for dressing first ladies and senators than Billboard chart-topping Super Bowl Halftime Show alums.

"Over the past few years, we have focused on a multi-generational client. Creating classic knit looks but with a layered component with a bit of the unexpected," Marina Keiler, senior director, global PR and brand partnerships for St. John, told InStyle. Under the direction of Zoe Turner, the brand has pivoted from catering exclusively to the ladies-who-lunch set to drawing in a more dynamic and, ahem, younger, crowd. Fans include Tessa Thompson, Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens, and Sydney Sweeney (along with a few of her fellow Euphoria castmates). 

Tatiana Waterford, Perry's stylist, explained that the look was a collaboration between the singer and the SoCal brand. Waterford saw the look and requested that it made in a bright green bouclé, a shade Perry aptly described as "margarita" on Instagram.

"Katy is always very involved with the process of making a custom look — from the color and fabrics, down to the tailoring of the final look," Waterford said.

"We made the look perfectly to her measurements, and the corset 'fit like a glove,'" Keiler added. "So, they only had to adjust where the pants sat on her waist."

Behind the scenes, Keiler said that the look was a mashup of a bustier with long, wide-leg cargos. Both aren't pieces that anyone familiar with St. John's heritage would associate with the brand, but Perry's look is part of the line's efforts to expand beyond its stately and buttoned-up history. St. John's lineup now includes bra tops, ultra-cropped jackets, and a rainbow of candy-colored hues reminiscent of puffy stickers and carnival sweets. It's a long way from the greys, browns, and navy blue that Dr. Jill Biden and Laura Bush opt for when they shop St. John (even Michelle Obama has worn the label).

Katy Perry St John Knits pattern
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Katy Perry St John sewing detail
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Katy Perry St John dress form
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Expect to see more star power at the line — though the politicos probably won't be going anywhere. Keiler says that some of Hollywood's biggest stylists are calling in to get their hands on St. John.

"We have had incredible support from stylists such as Karla Welch, Law Roach, Elizabeth Saltzman, Erin Walsh, Wayman + Micah, and Chris Horan, amongst others, so we have quite a lot out in fittings at any given moment," she said.

It's all part of passing on the line's DNA of timeless American style. Without much in the way of marketing these days (Angelina Jolie once fronted a campaign for the brand), the clothes are doing more talking than any flashy ads. With the next generation of PYTs lining up to get their hands on something their moms — and grandmas — would approve of, it looks like St. John found the perfect mix of cool and classic.

Keiler adds that St. John is working to focus on "who we are as a female-founded, American, luxury knitwear brand," but at the same time, balancing what's old and new: "St. John is nostalgic for a lot of people, so we're excited a new generation has gravitated to the brand."