The colors, the prints, the patterns… it’s all inspired by Trina Turk’s native California and the spirit is truly sunny–even in winter. Founded in 1995 as a women’s contemporary clothing line by Trina and her photographer husband, the brand has since evolved into an iconic lifestyle brand with 11 annual collections of ready-to-wear and accessories, plus swimwear, recreation/activewear, a Mr Turk menswear line, not to mention home décor and textiles. Newest to the lineup this year are footwear and jewelry (just launched Spring 2014) and handbags (launching Fall 2014).
Here, Turk chats with Accessories magazine about her growing business and newest accessory classification–handbags–launching this fall.
You have such a strong sense of color, print and pattern. Are you a painter or graphic designer by training?
No, but I worked on I worked on printed fabrics and with graphic designers prior to starting Trina Turk. The colors, prints and patterns that we’ve become so well known for are primarily inspired by living in southern California—the light, landscape, architecture and climate. I’m also very inspired by my childhood growing up in California and am especially attracted to prints and colorations from the late 1960s and early 1970s. If I weren’t a fashion designer, I’d be an interior designer.
Who are some of your influencers?
Icons: Iris Apfel, Millicent Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Mary Tyler Moore in the 70’s, Jackie O, Gloria Steinem, Peggy Moffatt. For travel: The only constant inspiration is California. Trina Turk is definitely a West Coast narrative with a sunny outlook. The colors of California, the varied landscape, the architecture, the climate, and the vibrant energy from the mixing of cultures continually spurs ideas.
What can we expect for 2014?
For Spring/Summer, our muse takes a road trip up the California Coastline. Styling is cool and relaxed with effortless road-trip inspired nonchalance. For Fall, we continue to be inspired by California and our muse takes a drive down Sunset Blvd through LA from Silverlake to the ocean.
With so many extensions and accessories categories, how come you added handbags last? Many designers do them first?
We didn’t intentionally add handbags as our last category, it just happened this way. Over the past 18 years, we have expanded incrementally, but organically, as opportunities were presented, into an overall lifestyle brand—moving from women’s apparel, to Mr Turk for men, adding swimwear, outerwear, then home furnishings, and now jewelry, shoes, bedding, towels, recreation and handbags.
Launching this Fall, the collection is segmented into three distinct categories: Essentials, Luxe and Sun. Each category embodies the essence of the brand and the personal California modern lifestyle. We’ll offer a myriad of fabrications in signature colors—soft nappa and goat, black and white woven pebbled leather, and printed hair calf in patterns of snake, zebra and cheetah will be cast in peacock and mineral blues, berry, cabernet, amber, military green and pumice. Embellishments and details will include knotted tassels, painted pop edges, perforation, embossing, and enamel and resin hardware. Retails range from $158 to $598.
What else are you launching in 2014?
2014 has already been a busy year and it’s only just begun. Footwear and jewelry just launched for spring (footwear retails, $198 to $300; jewelry, $42 to $24) and we recently launched a new website, www.trinaturk.com. Our new site offers consumers the opportunity to experience the curated California style of Trina Turk online. Trina Turk Recreation launched in Resort 2014. Handbags, as mentioned above, are just showing to stores now and will launch this fall.
For jewelry, we have a great partner in Adelington Design Group. They are part of the portfolio of brands owned by Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. They’ve shown incredible commitment to the design and quality of everything they do. For footwear, we collaborated with Peter Marcus Group to create a collection that is both on-rend and on-brand. Finally, for handbags, we partner with industry veteran, Signal Brands, to design a collection that truly reflects our California Modern aesthetic.
Are your Fashion Week presentations always so heavily accessorized?
We always try to incorporate all product categories, including accessories, into our New York Fashion Week Presentations so that buyers and press can see the breadth of what we do here at Trina Turk. We do tend to showcase some of the more theatrical pieces because that’s what really stands out in photographs and helps make the collection pop. This season, we showed our new handbags for the first time!
There are must-haves from each collection. I’m already wearing our Palm Spring Block Lucite Heel. From our jewelry line the Pyramid long pendant necklace and for handbags, I’m looking forward to carrying our Manhattan tote in black and bone.
Designing a cohesive collection that encompasses our apparel and accessories has been very organic. The apparel comes first and essentially inspires the accessories—shoes, jewelry, handbags. Not all of the patterns, shapes, colors or prints used in our apparel lines make sense for our accessories, but it has been a process of editing, then re-working scale and coloration to create amazing pieces.
Will you double-expose your accessories via outposts at retailers who carry your ready-to-wear?
That’s the goal!
We currently have nine boutiques and one outlet store in Chicago. Our retail boutiques are in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, New York, Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Burlingame, Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, Dallas’ Highland Park Village, Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza and Manhattan Beach in CA. In 2014, we’re opening two additional boutiques, one in the Houston Galleria and the other on Market Street in The Woodlands, also in Texas.
What’s next on the drawing board?
In the coming years, we’re looking to complete the optimistic California inspired lifestyle that we’ve created. I would love to have a bigger international audience and distribution. I’d also love to do a boutique hotel and decorate it using our prints and colors, incorporating work from artisans and designers I admire.