Trina Turk Views Miami Beach
by laurie brookins
The interior of the Bal Harbour boutique, inspired by the work of Morris Lapidus
Walk around Trina Turk’s Bal Harbour boutique and chances are it will feel as familiar as a stroll through the Fontainebleau or Eden Roc Renaissance hotels. “I’m a huge Morris Lapidus fan,” says Turk of the architect celebrated for shaping the Mid-century Modern look of 1950s Miami Beach. “We definitely used his work as the inspiration for Bal Harbour, from the curved soffit lighting to the aqua and white terrazzo tiles. His retail architecture is incredible. Look at Lincoln Road.”
You can gauge an easy association between Turk’s love of Lapidus and the vivacity of her eponymous collection, notably her use of brilliant color palettes and her penchant for graphic prints that sometimes take on a vintage air. Turk honed her craft as a swimwear designer for Ocean Pacific in Los Angeles (where she is still based), and her California-girl aesthetic translates effortlessly to the Miami lifestyle, from the easy dresses in paisley silk or tangerine chiffon to the breezy wide-leg pants in a vivid pink India-inspired floral. “We’ve always been known for color and print and, more recently, swimwear, and those are three things that Miami embraces in a big way,” Turk notes. “Being at Bal Harbour is great for our brand, because it attracts a very international clientele, and it’s important for us to be positioned alongside all the other brands you see there. But it’s also our number-one swimwear store by far, and more than anything that speaks to how women in Miami are just so attracted to what we do.”
When we spoke in March, Turk was due to make a personal appearance in early April at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort to host a luncheon and trunk show for clients in the newly opened hotel. How vital is the personal-appearance circuit these days? “I think getting out there is more important than ever,” she says. “There are so many brands, it’s necessary for the consumer to understand that there is a person behind the name, and not just a celebrity who has attached their name to a collection, but a designer who studied fashion and construction. And I also love meeting our customers, getting out there and seeing all the different types of women.”
Turk admits these Miami trips also allow her to indulge one passion in particular. “For me, Miami is really about the vintage thing,” she says. “I hit all the stores on 125th Street, as well as that little strip of shops on Biscayne north of the arts district. I also build in some time and do a day up on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach; there are great places there for vintage furniture.” Her love of architecture, meanwhile, has spawned another habit, as Turk strives to never repeat stays in the same South Beach hotel. “There are so many options and new places to explore—the Tides, the Sagamore. That’s really the fun part of it for me.”
With 11 collections to produce each year—in addition to her women’s ready-to-wear, she also produces a men’s line called Mr Turk, as well as accessories and home collections— Turk notes that such experiences are integral to her design process. Indeed, her Summer collection was inspired by the idea of “the gypsette traveler, that chic woman who’s equal parts gypsy and jet-setter, traveling around the world, picking up various pieces from various cultures, combining prints and colors, and always looking amazing.” Those aforementioned wide-leg pants, for example, are shown in a bright pink and purple batik floral Turk calls Jaipur, a pattern she employs throughout the Summer collection. “It’s all these beautiful pinks and purples printed on a silk crêpe de chine; we just know that’s going to be a great print for us this season,” Turk adds.
On June 7, Turk debuts her latest project, a limited-edition capsule collection for Banana Republic. Comprising roughly 60 pieces of women’s apparel and accessories, Turk’s collection of “summer essentials” is built around the notion of cocktails by a pool in Palm Springs, where the designer owns both a home and her flagship boutique. “It was a terrific project, and certainly a different experience than what we do [inhouse],” Turk says. “I’m really excited about the idea that it’s going to introduce our brand to a lot of people who may not know who or what Trina Turk is.”
Miami may be the exception to that idea, I tell her, and then mention that her interior-design pieces (in addition to home accessories, she also produces a collection of indoor/outdoor fabrics for Schumacher) seem destined to someday grace a South Beach hotel. “I’ve been asked to do a room or a cabana, and I know some of the Schumacher fabrics have been used here and there,” she says. “Sooner or later, I think you will see a whole pool area decked out in Trina Turk. I’d love that.”
photograph by andrEs hernandEz (turk)
AG Jeans design director Mark Wiesmayr and stylist Jeanann Williams on denim's cultural footprint.