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Trina Turk Thinks You Should Shimmy Into Some Floral-Print Pants

Lauren Murrow | June 5, 2012 | Lifestyle Style & Beauty Story Style City Life Fashion Shopping

San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based designer Trina Turk is known for her California sensibilities: bright colors, bold prints, and breezy, easy-to-wear silhouettes. So when Banana Republic Creative Director Simon Kneen was seeking someone to spearhead a pattern-happy about-face from the brand’s demure Mad Men office garb, he approached Turk—she of the Palm Springs prints—to collaborate. The five-pattern, 59-piece collection launches tonight, when the designer herself will be mingling among the racks at the Union Square Banana Republic (256 Grant Ave., 415-788-3087, 5-8p.m.). We caught up with Turk earlier this week to chat about her favorite items from the collection, San Francisco haunts, and why even color-shy dressers ought to trot out a pair of botanical-print pants this season.

What sparked the collaboration?
We're just a small company, and this collection will be available at 450 Banana Republic stores in the U.S. and something like 25 stores internationally. This was an opportunity to introduce the brand a much broader market.

Banana Republic is better known for office-appropriate sheath dresses than zany prints. Was it a touchy collaborative process?
Actually, it wasn’t. Simon [Kneen] was wanting to do something colorful and print driven, so there was no issue with the intensity of the color or vibrancy of the prints or anything like that.

How did you settle on the final five prints?
We went into the Trina Turk archive and pulled a slew of prints that had a multicolor, iconic Trina Turk feeling, then we narrowed it down to five. We wanted to find things that were late-sixties and early-seventies inspired but didn’t necessarily look frozen in time. The prints we honed in on have this very natural, swirling kind of vibe. They feel feminine.

Are you a diehard Californian?
I was born in San Francisco and grew up in San Jose and other parts of California. I’ve been in Los Angeles since 1985, long enough to consider myself an Angeleno.

How do your roots influence your design sensibility?
Namely, the climate and diversity of the landscape. As much as I’m a city-dweller now, a lot of my prints are influenced by early excursions around California as a kid: the water, sea life, flowers, and plants. There’s also an element of modernist architecture in them, which is part of the reason my husband and I have a house in Palm Springs. If I wasn't a fashion designer, I would be an interior designer.

Are you embracing any spring trends?
Certain trends are universal, whether in New York or California, and this season it seems to be colored pants.

How often do you make it to San Francisco?
Three or four times a year. I’m going to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum this weekend and I can’t stay away from Boulettes Larder at the Ferry Building. I also hit the Vintage Fashion Expo every year.

How would you describe San Francisco style?
Urban utilitarian: a lot of neutral colors and a serious emphasis on outerwear.

What about your personal style?
I rarely wear Trina Turk from head to toe, but usually I’ll wear one piece every day mixed with vintage and other designers. I tend to gravitate towards classic American sportswear silhouettes, rather than things that are ruffled and hyper-feminine.

What’s your favorite piece from the Banana Republic collection?
I have two: The floppy wide-brim hat in the crazy botanical print and the floral cotton sateen shorts.

What about women who shy away from “crazy botanical” prints?
Well, if you’re not comfortable, don’t wear it. Maybe you start with a tote, scarf, or top, as opposed to a full-on printed dress. But I’m telling you, if there’s any season to bust out prints and bright color, it’s this one. Now is the time.

Click ahead to see a slideshow of the full collection.


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