Trina Turk goes vintage one better

October 2004
Trina Turk goes vintage one better


Special Contributor


With its '60s-sleek setting and Zenlike reflecting pool and fountain, the new garden at Fashion Industry Gallery was a near-perfect setting for a sit-down with Trina Turk, guest designer for the spring 2005 wholesale market that ended Monday.


The Los Angeles native, who grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s and learned to sew from her Japanese mom, founded her hip Sportswear label nine years ago. It’s now a staple of contemporary departments at stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Elements, Tootsies, MaryBeth and Byzantine.


Trina calls her sensibility "California resort wear, "which means sleek, simple shapes punched up with boldly eccentric prints and optimistic colors.


She opened her first free-standing boutique in Palm Springs (where she and her husband, photographer Jonathan Skow, also have a home). Next up: a line of handbags and sunglasses that will make you feel very Valley of the Dolls, only without the pills.


Checkout Trina’s Web site at


Mattie: Aside from lots of your own line what is in your closet?


Trina: I have tons of vintage, let’s just get that straight. I love Rudi Gernreich, Bonnie Cashin and Leonard. Leonard is not as well-known as Pucci has become, but the colors and patterns are amazing. I 1ove to take vintage prints and change the colors slightly to update them for my line. There are some great prints and colors coming for spring.


Mattie: But a girl can’t live by vintage alone. Any contemporary favorites?


Trina: I just bought a Chloe sweater in Houston. And I have tons of Gucci shoes ... like these (pink silk flats with snaffle and round toe). They are very "grandmother" shoes and love them.


Mattie: How do you feel about seeing your designs mixed with other designers?


Trina: It’s great. I like to see how the customer interprets the line. She might put it together in a way I never thought of and mix it with other things ... that's really great.

My husband will see someone wearing something from my line walking down the street in New York and call me in LA to tell me what she has on.

You should do something with it; don’t just wear it the way it was shown.


Mattie: Any advice you would give your customers?


Trina: Don't get caught in the trap of buying too basic; you don't want a closet full of black. You do want to spend a little more money to get good quality and design, but that doesn't mean they have to be neutral.

And do lots of accessories. I have lots of accessories, both new and vintage. For the holidays, there is so much in my line that is embellished that you really don't need much in the way of accessories. But do get a full skirt for parties ... and a fur or cashmere shrug.