“Palm Springs” and “mid-century” are two phrases almost always used to describe Trina Turk’s designs.Her Spring ’14 resort collection has a chic, sophistication that blends crisp tailored career styles with easy pieces for a modern contemporary cool that is always feminine, but rarely girly.

The Los Angeles designer is a master of color and print mixing. She tempers the collection’s palette of salmon and navy with pops of stormy blue and concrete gray. And, of course, there are her signature prints including chevron stripes, oversized bright florals and a Mod chain pattern.


The collection includes slip dress with a perfectly placed engineered print and a flirty striped jacket and short set. Turk includes some easy-to-mix pieces, including slim pants and skinny jeans, layering sweaters and a kimono top. There is also a cropped jumpsuit and a slouchier romper version.

Turk has been quietly building her brand over the last 18 years. She opened stores in Palm Springs (natch) and on LA’s indie retail thoroughfare West Third Street. She branched into menswear with her Mr. Turk collection, home décor, including interiors fabrics featuring her original prints. She launched swimwear in 2006 and soon was a regular on the runways at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. There’ve been partnerships with Banana Republic and Barbie and a new activewear collection is in the works.

In short, Turk’s brand building has been steady, purposeful and smart. For Spring 2014, the designer took it to a new level. She upgraded her fabrics to bring added elegance to her collection, which she showed for the first time on the runway during New York Fashion Week.

Her love of bright colors and prints might invite comparisons with Lilly Pulitzer (if you’re the type who could mistake Palm Beach for Palm Springs.), but the more apt comparison is Marimekko, the Finnish mid-century label that has been designing and reinventing bold Scandinavian prints for more than half a century. Like Marimekko, Trina Turk is inspired by the past, but she’s not trapped in it. I’ve heard she has an enviable vintage archive, but her pieces never look like deadstock classics. Mid-century might be her starting point, but one look and you know Turk has her eye on the future.

Published Nov. 29, 2013 at