Jenni Kayne elevates California style with a brand ranging from silk button-downs to home goods
By Melissa Magsaysay
Nov 03, 2017 | 11:00 AM
A look at women fashion designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles native Jenni Kayne debuted her self-named collection of sequined skirts and silk separates in 2003. Today, Kayne, 35, has five free-standing stores in California with a sixth set to open in New York later this year. Her stores are where a full scope of items conveying a modern-day coastal lifestyle can be found.
Why She Matters
Kayne has never strayed from her Los Angeles roots, elevating basic pieces like cashmere wool coats and sweaters, shirtdresses and wide-leg trousers season after season much to the delight of her celebrity following. She has expanded her brand to include her passion for interior design, cooking and family while documenting her life and offering tips and profiles about women who inspire her on her blog, Rip & Tan. She frequently collaborates with brands such as Parachute (home), Pottery Barn Kids, Marysia (swim), Solly Baby, Earth tu Face (beauty) and Linus (bicycles) to spread her laid-back-yet-luxurious look into categories beyond fashion.
Kayne debuted the D’Orsay flat shoe in 2006, and the style became a go-to alternative to the ballet flat. The shoe is still a bestseller from her collection, as are cashmere fisherman sweaters and yak and wool sweater coats.
In a move opposite to what most fashion brands have been doing, Kayne has relocated the production of her collection from overseas to Los Angeles — while also choosing to lower her retail prices by 30%. (Kayne’s line ranges from $60 for a candle from her home line to $625 for a fur-trimmed jacket.)
“I felt that because most of my business is my own line, I had an opportunity to lower my margin and to try and find better manufacturing that was local,” says Kayne about her decision. “I lowered my price point in order to be more transparent to the customer but also because I wanted to be able to be on more women. We found that a lot of women that work with us that were in their 20s and 30s, maybe couldn’t afford as much Jenni Kayne as they wanted to wear, and I wanted to be on those girls. I just wanted to be more accessible.”
Her line is mostly produced in Los Angeles with the exception of her shoes, which are made in Italy, and her home collection, which is being made in a women-owned-and-run factory in Peru.
My inspiration for design and for the way that I live my life is always through a California lens.
In The Studio
Whether it’s the thoughtfully curated tabletop decor at a dinner party in the Santa Monica Mountains or meandering through any of the Jenni Kayne concept stores, there is an obvious throughline inspired by easy, healthy and laid-back California living that informs how the designer does everything.
“My inspiration for design and for the way that I live my life is always through a California lens,” says Kayne, whose studio and corporate office are in Beverly Hills. “I think it draws from nature and landscape and a laid-back way of life that’s all about living well.”
Her approach to everything from style to vitamin supplements is well-documented on her blog and has also landed the designer events with Martha Stewart and features on organizing and crafting on the Martha Stewart website.
Jenni Kayne debuted her self-named collection of sequined skirts and silk separates in 2003. Since then, the designer has expanded her brand beyond fashion through collaborations with other brands such as Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, N.M.-based Los Poblanos. Kayne has five free-standing stores in California with a sixth set to open in New York later this year. Her stores display her take on a modern-day California lifestyle.
“I always say the most important things to me are what you put in and on your body,” Kayne says. “Whether it’s your face and body products, what you’re eating, all of the supplements you’re taking, to the clothes that you’re wearing to the table setting and the accessories in your home, it’s all equally as important. I think it’s all one. That’s how I see it.”
Now that wellness is the new luxury, most of anything Kayne creates embodies the California life that resonates from Japan to Germany as aspirational.
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