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If you haven’t heard of Jenni Kayne, it’s time to get familiar. The Los Angeles-based designer, who began her career with clothing and eventually expanded into interiors, is best known for her casual, beach-inspired style. Kayne’s relaxed vibe utilizes clean-lined shapes in easy to mix pieces, all in a soothing neutral color palette. It’s a look that’s easily translated to Denver’s unaffected lifestyle, which is why we weren’t entirely surprised (though we were excited!) to learn Kayne is opening her first Denver lifestyle store in the Dairy Block’s Free Market this month. We asked her a few questions via email about what fans can expect from her first Colorado boutique, how she approaches designing a new collection, and what made her want to write her first entertaining book Pacific Natural.
5280: What is it that appealed to you about opening a boutique in Denver?
The husband and wife team behind Alchemy approached us about opening up a spot in their Free Market space. We were attracted to the curation of brands opening up alongside it, and felt we’d be a perfect addition. We love Denver, all the new restaurants and shops opening up, and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this great city’s exciting development as a shopping destination.
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Since this is your first Denver store, can you just talk a little about what kinds of product our readers can expect to find, as well as what your inspiration is for the season?
We’ll have an assortment of the pieces our audience knows best: Our core apparel and knitwear, Italian-made leather footwear, and beautiful home décor. My inspiration for every season always comes back to the idea of the uniform—pieces you can wear and have in your life that mix and match and are appropriate for every occasion. Of course, that means you need some special things too, so our summer collection has lots of pretty warm-weather essentials.
Do you have any must-have pieces for the season?
Our mules and cashmere fisherman sweater are the building blocks of any Jenni Kayne outfit. From there, you can build your uniform around these hardworking pieces and tailor it to suit your personal style and your lifestyle. Our fisherman sweater in cotton has been a favorite for a lightweight option to this best-selling staple.
What’s your starting point when you’re designing a new fashion collection?
I always build around my lifestyle—I need my wardrobe to take me from a work meeting to the farmer’s market to playing on the floor with my kids. That means I need to be totally comfortable but also feel put-together. I design for the women with busy, multifaceted lives—they deserve to look and feel their best.
With so many influential women either running their own label or designing for a major house, do you think women are able to bring a certain combination of intelligence and functionality to fashion?
Absolutely! I think all women know it’s possible to have a wardrobe that functions and flatters—just look at the history of men’s clothing! They have always had well-made, functional garments that function as a uniform. I find that female designers are always paying attention to the details—whether it’s a secret pocket in a handbag, a meticulously-designed silhouette, or the process of picking the exact right fabric that looks beautiful but isn’t too delicate.
In addition to your fashion line, you also have home décor; can you tell our readers a bit about your aesthetic and influences?
Our home line was borne out of an authentic love for entertaining and nesting. The influence comes from that particular feeling of being immediately welcome in someone’s home, whether it’s their energy or the way they’ve set the table or how they’ve arranged their flowers. I wanted to recreate a line that would host an assortment of quality pieces that would last for a long time to evoke that homey feeling.
Is your home line a seasonal collection or is it more of an evolution? If it’s more of an evolution, how do you decide when to introduce new pieces?
The home line is definitely an evolution, and is designed to encompass an entire lifestyle. Just as we swap our sweaters for T-shirts when the weather warms up, I like to introduce new pieces seasonally. I always go with neutral palettes, but even a lighter shade of beige can bring a springtime feeling to the home.
Are there items from your home collection that can be easily introduced into any décor style?
Absolutely. We work with a co-op in Peru that weaves the most beautiful alpaca pillows and throws in a range of neutral colors. Layering pillows is key to any cozy home—I’m currently obsessed with our linen square pillows, which come in classic colors as well as some new novelty hues for summer. I always stick to neutrals because they work with every style—you can have fun with pops of color or heirloom pieces and integrate neutrals for a grounding foundation.
You also have a new entertaining book out, Pacific Natural. This is your first book, right? What made you want to write an entertaining book?
Yes, this is the first book! I am so excited and it turned out so beautifully. Entertaining has always been a huge part of my life and we’ve always featured parties and dinners on our blog, Rip & Tan. The book was a great way to collaborate with women we’ve worked with to develop a year in the life, breaking it down season by season, so there’s a recipe, a craft, and tips for setting the table for every occasion.
Will you be holding any events in the Denver store, and if so, what kind of experiences can our readers keep a look out for?
Once a month we host Wellness Wednesdays in our stores across the country, so we’ll be bringing that to Denver. The first one will be May 22, so mark your calendar. For Jenni Kayne Rewards members, we make floral arrangements once a month, and as a member, you can come in and pick up a complimentary floral bouquet. Sign up before Friday, May 10 to get yours! There’s a lot more to come, so stay tuned.
Jenni Kayne, Free Market Denver, 1801 Blake Street, 720-403-8150, jennikayne.com