PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATE ABBOTT
Rewind the clock to 1995, when Trina Turk and her late husband, Jonathan Skow, established the designer’s namesake label, and you’d find a copy of Slim Aarons’ “Poolside Gossip” tacked to her mood board.
“Palm Springs was definitely influencing what we were doing,” Turk shares, recalling professional trips and personal house-hunting tours of the Coachella Valley in the ’90s. (The Angeleno couple put down roots not long after founding the brand, and Turk now splits her time between midcentury homes in Palm Springs and L.A.)
This idea of glamorous resort wear was part of the original concept,” she says. Strong colors and overblown photographic prints of flowers dominated Turk’s earliest ready-to-wear creations, which pulled on vintage influences in a modern way and set the tone for the collections that followed. She traces her fascination with flamboyant fabrics back to childhood, growing up in the ’60s and ’70s with a seamstress mother who taught her to sew and manipulate patterns at a young age.
“There was no five-year plan,” Turk continues. “We were just doing whatever we thought was the right thing to do at the time. I was doing something that was aesthetically pleasing to me.”
Strong colors and prints distinguish the look.
Twenty-six years and six storefronts later, the Trina Turk name has become synonymous with Palm Springs, and more broadly, California resort fashion. An initial focus on womenswear grew to encompass swimwear, jewelry and accessories, home goods, and menswear under the Mr. Turk label. Each piece flaunts its designer’s signature sunny aesthetic: graphic caftans in bright popsicle tones, blazers bedecked in bold prints that refuse to be ignored, and shatterproof barware for chic poolside sips. These are ensembles and objects meant to make you feel like every day is a desert holiday.
The flagship store opened in 2002 in Palm Springs, and over two decades, the city’s Uptown Design District sprung up around it. The square-footage has expanded twice, and in 2017, a second storefront opened on El Paseo in Palm Desert. (Today, there are locations as far as Honolulu and Atlanta, and collections are also sold at major department stores and retailers including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Revolve.)
Shopping at Trina Turk is about so much more than finding a flattering new look to wear. It’s about the in-person experience. “Some of our team have been with us for quite a while,” Turk says. “They know our customers, and they have longtime relationships, which makes it more fun to shop in person.”
You won’t find any standoffishness here, only friendly stylists ready to dress you for your own “Poolside Gossip” moment. trinaturk.com — E.C.
Winners Voted by Our Readers
House of Lolo
Comfort meets elegance and dusty desert hues at this El Paseo boutique that vends a thoughtfully curated selection of womenswear and home goods. Stepping inside the bright and spacious store soothes the mind, on par with a spa day — only here, you’ll walk away with a fabulous power outfit, and probably a trinket for a friend, too. houseoflolo.com
Every day feels like a vacation when you’re on Rancho Relaxo time. This cheerful and eclectic space, located at The Atrium shopping center, vends an impressive assortment of gifts and accessories made by independent artisans, many of whom are local. But the brand’s bestseller is its own line of logoed T-shirts and artist collaboration apparel. ranchorelaxoca.com
Alexandrite Active & Golf Wear
A great golf skort may not improve your tee shots, but it will certainly make you look the part. Find the top brands in golf, tennis, hiking, yoga, and other activewear, with styles for the whole family, at this apparel shop in scenic Old Town La Quinta. If they don’t already stock the piece you’re after, they’ll track it down and have it shipped to the store for you. shopalexandrite.com