Chat: This September Trina Turk arrived in Dallas at Highland Park Village, ready to establish her Californian mid-century style upon such favourable Dallasites. Inspired by interior design, architecture and art, it’s no surprise that this articulate combination fulfils the preppy, perfect precision that Turk adheres to. I visited the new boutique on its opening day, to chat with Trina about her latest Dallas abode.
MAX: Tell me about this Dallas boutique – it looks very different than your other store’s, and the emerald is very striking. What was the inspiration behind the design?
TT: All the stores are like siblings, with a thread of continuity that carries throughout them all. David Mann from MR Architecture and Décor had previously spent time in Dallas and felt that the store needed a design that was a tiny bit formal but felt more like a garden courtyard. He came up with this idea of an arched canopy as the main element of the décor of the store, and we decided to go with this green colour, we thought it would be fresh and feel like a garden—one of our fabric suppliers custom made the green fabric for us. The thread that runs through all our stores is that we always use white and we often use these round light fixtures, a bit of a mid-century feel, that makes the store’s feel like they’re related to each other. Working on the store is a fun project for me, I love architecture and I love design, it’s a vicarious way to be an interior designer.
MAX: For this current fall season, tell me what your favourite pieces are – what are the key items, and must-haves?
TT: We launched Trina Turk coats this fall for the first time, true outerwear coats that will keep you warm in New York when it’s 20-degree weather. We’ve dabbled in coats that are more fashion coats, and were lighter weight and made from the ready-to-wear collection, but not really cosy warm winter coats. So this is our first coat season, and they are in stores now, so a new Trina Turk coat is a must-have. My favourite coat is the 100% cashmere style in camel – the inspiration behind this coat was the movie Love Story with Ali MacGraw, she wore a lot of camel and ivory with this preppy aesthetic. We have all kinds of fabrications, one in boucle tweed with a racoon collar, there is another jacket that I Iove, it’s a new fabrication for us, boucle with a knitted trim. We offer great value, the fabric is Italian and about 60% of our merchandise is made in California.
MAX: Your lifestyle brand is all encompassing, what are you most proud of?
TT: I am most proud that we’ve stayed very consistent, this is our sixteenth year in business, we established ourselves early on as a Southern Californian inspired brand, and print and colour have always been very important to our brand. So the print and colour have really allowed us to evolve organically into these other areas. Anything to do with the home, if you like colour, and you like print, that might work in your home—our pillows are part of our residential collection. A lot of them are taken from a print, from our ready-to-wear collection, and then we blow them up really big and embroider them on the pillow. There is a consistency in what we do and the whole time we’ve been in business, and people now recognise a Trina Turk print—and in a very cluttered market-place it’s important to have a strong identifier. The print and colour have also allowed us to go into swimwear very seamlessly, and swimwear has done really great – we are carrying swimwear all year round. There is definitely a customer who travels at different times of the year. I am proud of the stores, each one is a labour of love, and we’ve considered what would be right for that particular city.
MAX: If you had a Muse that epitomised the Trina Turk style, who would that, be – what Style Icons inspire you?
TT: I love the style of Iris Apfel, her magpie aesthetic where she just piles on all kinds of prints and exotica that she has collected Millicent Rogers she was quite glam and would wear couture with Mexican and Navajo jewelry, Diana Vreeland was amazing, Audrey Hepburn – you can’t fault her, and Ali MacGraw is a consistent inspiration for her American sportswear appeal.
MAX: You just completed spring 2012 – can you give us an overview of what the Trina Turk client will be wearing next season?
TT: We had two groups that we did for spring, the first one was called Country Club Coquette, a little bit preppy, very structured and prim, with a little bit of a twist—inspiration came from ladies that lunch, play bridge or host a Tupperware party. The colour palette for this group is a watermelon, blue indigo and a bright lemon colour, very tailored, structured and ladylike. The second delivery is called Mediterraneo inspired by my trip to Turkey and Capri this year—blue gorgeous water inspired shades of blue, this collection is more languid, drapey— like, what you would wear on your boat there. Lots of shades of turquoise then hits of bright paprika orange colour, it’s very pretty.
MAX: What advice would you give to young aspiring designers today, who want to start their own collection?
TT: First off, they need to know how to sew, really because of Project Runway; I think a lot of kids want to be a fashion designer. What they do on the show is amazing and not something that any person can do, but I think that a lot of people forget that being a fashion designer is knowing how clothing is constructed and knowing how to sew, and about fabrics and textiles is really, really, important. That doesn’t sound fun to some people. I think there is a bit of a rush to start a company immediately, I would advise to work for other people first and learn as much as you can, then you can learn while working for somebody else, as opposed to starting a company fresh out of school. When I started my company I thought I knew everything, but I did not. I worked as a designer for other people for twelve years, and I still learn something new every day.
MAX: Besides fashion what inspires you on a personal level?
TT: Architecture and interior design and also art, basically, going to museums seeing what people are doing which involve colour and pattern. Those are my three favourite inspirations – architecture, interior and art.
Watch the video below, “The Country Club Coquette” Trina Turk Spring 2012.