Jenni Kayne: Streamlined Sportswear for California Crusin'

Before presenting her 21-look collection yesterday, Los Angeles native Jenni Kayne described it as an east coaster's wardrobe for a dusty, cross-country road trip to Joshua Tree—the Ivy-Leaguer bids farewell to the manicured lawns and tennis courts of her upbringing and heads for the California desert.

As the show began and one tawny-skinned long-maned model after the next emerged from backstage, it was clear that Kayne had California on her mind. A departure from her classic and spare resort collection, Kayne offered up prints in the form of abstract polka dots and stripes both thick and thin (inspired by knits and sweaters she's been dressing her young son in recently). We especially loved her bold approach to patterned drawstring bottoms, which exuded a certain breeziness without looking like pajama pants.

But we'd also argue that perhaps Kayne's girl made a pit stop in Palm Springs before heading to total bohemia—once a blue-blood, always a blue-blood—as seen in her a-line shift dresses, one of which came shimmering down the runway in white paillettes and met the approving nod of fellow Los Angelino, Rachel Zoe. Cropped cigarette pants also added a preppy touch to the overall mix, while super-short lace mini skirts in neutral hues came paired with simple button-up tops and the occasional cropped jacket for those chilly desert nights. 

Successfully completing the collection was a stellar lineup of accessories: necklaces featuring long, horn-shaped strips and round baubles in lucite, matching lucite sunglasses, and our favorite: open-sided pointy-toed flat shoes in beige linen, and rather surprisingly for spring, dark velvet and crocodile.

Lately we've seen a new generation of fashion designers return to classic American sportswear—the kind defined and upheld by Michael Kors, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein—and given her consistent aesthetic for stylish and simple separates, Kayne seems to be leading the pack.

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