In the 16 years since its inception, designer Jenni Kayne’s eponymous clothing line has become famous for its effortless, earthy minimalism: cozy fisherman cardigans that counter the ocean’s mist; soft leather flats that slip on easily for an evening stroll. It’s an aesthetic that has garnered a cult following among celebrities and fashion insiders alike—if not for the lush materials and timelessness of the pieces, then for the very specific type of California dreaming they seem to evoke: carefree, unhurried, and gently kissed by a welcoming sun.
It’s fitting then that this elegantly tousled breed of West Coast living can’t be limited to fashion’s oft-constraining box: Two years ago the designer launched a selection of rustic linens, raw wood furniture, and casual tableware to complement her clothing and accessories; and recently a Rizzoli book titled Pacific Natural arrived to showcase her signature style of entertaining and living. “I have a very distinct kind of organic, California laid-back style which translates to whatever I’m doing—whether that’s in my home or on my table,” Kayne explains. “I always say I’m as passionate about what I’m wearing as how the house looks. My brand is about living well, and that’s an entire lifestyle.”
To capture that holistic spirit, the book is organized by season and encourages a hands-on, conscientious approach to decor, gifting, and entertaining. Each chapter is packed with recipes and savvy tips on subjects from flower arranging to table setting to creating personalized parting gifts. The full-page photographs are elegant in their unpretentious simplicity.
And, in true California fashion, emphasis is placed on local flora and produce. Meals can be centered around a single herb, like the Rosemary Dinner, which uses the fragrant stalks in a tequila-and-grapefruit cocktail then as a garnish on sliced crostini with ricotta and wild mushrooms and finally in the spray bottles that guests will take with them so they can recall the special evening every time they spritz at home.
For Kayne, it all comes down to savoring the best of what’s outside—or at the very least on bringing the best of what’s outside in. “The weather in L.A. makes it a particularly fun place for hosting, especially in the summer. You’re able to be outside and get grounded in nature,” she says. “But since you can’t always be dining under a tree somewhere, it’s really mostly about utilizing what you have around you—clipping branches to create a deconstructed garland for your dining room table instead of buying flowers; taking herbs from your own garden or the farmers’ market to fill bud vases with small bouquets. You really can’t go wrong when you’re creative about what you have. The possibilities are endless.”
It’s simple but inspiring, which was Kayne’s intention. As Martha Stewart, who wrote the foreword to Pacific Natural, says: “This is a lifestyle we would all be happy to adopt.”