The MADE By series profiles leading voices in architecture and design. Fashion designer Trina Turk and her late husband, photographer Jonathan Skow, founded her eponymous brand in 1995 as a women’s contemporary line. It has since evolved to encompass a women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, swimwear, eyewear, paper goods, a Mr Turk menswear collection, and residential goods.
What brought you to Palm Springs?
I remember being in grade school and hopping between the pool and hot tub with my brother during family visits to our Great Aunt Rose, who had a condo in the Villa Roma complex, built in 1966. Later I returned with my husband (the late photographer, Jonathan Skow) for weekend escapes from L.A. before we eventually bought our streamline moderne-style home in 1998.
What influence has Palm Springs had on the vibe of Trina Turk?
Jonathan and I became involved in the community and went on Palm Springs Modern Committee architectural tours. We were doing a lot of vintage clothing shopping and thrift shopping, and the inspiration was everywhere, whether it be an old Palm Springs Life magazine or those iconic Slim Aarons photographs. People were buying midcentury homes, and we thought, “What are they going to wear to live and entertain in these homes?” We shot our campaigns at fantastic architectural homes, which reinforced a connection between Trina Turk the brand and Palm Springs. This cocktails-by-the-pool vibe became something that was and is still an ongoing theme of what we do. When we opened our Palm Springs store 22 years ago in what is now the Uptown Design District but what was then a stretch of “no man’s land”, in a glass-line retail space where I’d often shopped for vintage furniture, it represented a big milestone for the brand, letting us segue from a strictly wholesale model into retail. We’ve now expanded into all three storefronts of that building, which was designed by Albert Frey in the early 1960s. We opened a second Trina Turk / Mr. Turk location on El Paseo in Palm Desert in 2017. We happened to show up at a time when Palm Springs was starting a renaissance. Since then, we’ve been able to ride this wave of the rebirth of Palm Springs.
Can you share how you and Nelda Linsk met?
I’d pinned “Poolside Gossip,” an iconic image from photographer Slim Aarons’ famous series to my bulletin board. Captured in 1970 at the Richard Neutra–designed Kaufmann House, Linsk is just radiant on that beautiful Palm Springs day, sitting by the pool in a yellow terrycloth crop top and matching palazzo pants. When I met her, I didn’t realize that she was the Nelda who was in those images — which is probably a good thing, because she’s an icon and, had I known, I might have been overly enthusiastic! Linsk had frequented my shop since its opening. We really hit it off, because she liked my style and I liked her style and we’ve been friends ever since.
Tell us about the get-together you’re hosting at Palm Springs Art Museum in the Annenberg Theater.
I’ll be speaking with my longtime friend and Palm Springs icon, the model and fashion designer Nelda Linsk. Everyone’s invited. We’ll share colorful stories from our lives and our closets and I’ll also be sharing select pieces from the Trina Turk Spring 2024 collection. It’s an honor to share a stage with Nelda because she has been an inspiration to the brand since the early days. She has worn the highest-end designer brands — the best clothes that anybody could make — and she’s lived an amazing life in Palm Springs, the kind of glamorous life that you hear about. I love to listen to her stories as much as everybody else. That’s what most I’m looking forward to.
We understand that you’ll also be hosting a fashion show for the brand?
Yes, Frank Sinatra’s legendary Twin Palms residence, designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1947, will host its first-ever poolside fashion show around that iconic piano shaped pool on February 18th to celebrate the Trina Turk spring collections, including limited-edition, event-ready dresses. Unfortunately, there’s no space available. The event’s 150 tickets sold out online in minutes! But the Trina Turk boutiques will be stocking the new styles to coincide with Modernism Week, so people can find something to wear to the event’s renowned parties each evening!
Meet Trina and shop her collection at this year’s Modernism Week events:
February 15: Sip and Shop for a Cause
February 18: Trina Turk Fashion Show at the Historic Frank Sinatra Estate *SOLD OUT*
Adapted from an article by Lisa Marie Hart for the Modernism Week 2024 Official Guide