Kenneth Cole opened his Spring 2004 fashion show with a short film that celebrated his twenty years in the business. Most of that time Cole was solely (pun intended) a shoe designer, but in recent years he’s been pushing into new categories, like fragrance and fashion.

For all his tongue-in-cheek advertising, Cole doesn’t fool around when it comes to fashion. His customer wants moderately hip, uncomplicated clothes, which the designer provides by putting a fresh twist on reliable classics. Last season, he was squarely in the mod camp; for Spring, he went over to the preppy side, showing big V-neck sweaters layered over crisp white shorts and worn with slim trousers or Bermuda shorts. Colors were neutral and muted—shades of gray, taupe, khaki, white—with an occasional splash of canary yellow or cobalt blue. Some charmeuse minidresses added a touch of glam, but for the most part it was an appealingly practical collection.