Kenneth Cole has always struck a balance with clothes and accessories that are down-to-earth yet ready to rise to an occasion. Last season, he upped the ante by launching a higher-end "Collection" line targeted at a more discerning customer, and for Spring, the designer pushed things forward by bringing in consulting creative director Kobi Halperin.

The new lineup has a nomadic theme, and you could detect a North African influence in artisanal embellishments like hand-painted studs and burnished metalwork. Earthy materials including damask, raffia, and linen underscored the vibe. But this being street-savvy Kenneth Cole, the aforementioned linen was coated to look and feel like leather, with results that were more city than Sahara.

Cole adhered to a primarily black and white color palette with flashes of gold mixed in. "I've always been more comfortable in black, in the shadows," he told Style.com. Still, he maintained a lightness with asymmetric, sheer chiffon pieces, and promoted a more unstructured, layered silhouette with soft leather vests that spilled open and long shorts paired with on-trend, to-the-knee sandals. Other accessories like iPad shoulder bags and metallic python-print clutches kept the message modern.

On the boys' side, hand-painted moto jackets and relaxed Bermuda pants maintained the lineup's overall lived-in, utilitarian feel. Cole is planning to upgrade to a runway show in February, and judging by this strong outing, we'd say the Collection is ready for the main stage.