Why caftans? “Because they are more chic than sweatpants but just as comfortable,” said Trina Turk of the style that’s become even more prominent in her California lifestyle brand during the pandemic and in her spring 2021 men’s and women’s collection, aptly titled “Virtual Vacation.”
“We basically decided that it’s going to have to be a vacation in your mind until there’s a vaccine, so generally we went more casual, not sweatsuit casual, but we didn’t really do the structured cocktail dresses we’d normally do,” the designer said by phone from Los Angeles.
The result is a mood-lifting, backyard beach-ready mix — for her, a sunbeam-print cotton sateen tunic over graphic print shorty shorts, sunny bloom georgette tiered house dress, hot coral kick-flare pants with buttonless blazer worn over a bikini top; for him, a vintage-looking Hawaiian print cotton blazer, matching print camp shirts and shorts, gingham suiting, and lots of Bermudas; for them, caftans for every occasion in awning stripes, with scarf borders, placement prints and more.
Turk worked a lot more with cotton this season, and the collection looks lighter, softer and easier for it (not to mention better equipped to beat the oppressive heat California is suffering in the new climate change normal).
“And there’s a bit of recycling going on,” she added. “There were fabrics we had from our summer collection that we ended up not producing that we’ve sprinkled throughout.”
Like many, Turk has had to cut back over the last few months: her design team, the size of her collection (25 percent smaller than last spring) and her store count (12 to six). “Wholesale is the big question mark for us.…Saks and Neiman Marcus are two of our biggest customers, and both of them are on credit watch so even if they place an order, we can’t ship until we get credit approval, and it can take a long time.”
But she’s a survivor who is looking forward to continuing the brand’s 25th anniversary celebration with the release of a new book, “Trina Turk” launching Oct. 27, just in time for the Palm Springs high season. “In the end, we were making too much stuff anyway and so was everybody! There are more clothes being created than consumers for them so I think this reset is healthy for the industry and the planet. It was not a hardship to design less, it just makes you focus more.”