Girls Night Out: Clothes made to desire

otaylor@thestate.comMarch 13, 2013 

  • If you go Girls Night Out

    When: 7 tonight

    Where: 701 Whaley, 701 Whaley St.

    Tickets: $50 general admission, $75 reserved seating. V.I.P. tickets cost $125, which includes runway seating, 6:30 p.m. reception and gift bag

    Information: or (803) 400-1162

Fashion designers create more than clothing and accessories. In fact, the most important aspect of a collection can’t actually be seen.

“What we have to do, ultimately, is we have to convince our customer to spend her money on something she needs or wants,” Trina Turk, the designer of an eponymous brand, said. “You have to create desire.”

Turk, who is known for designing garments with colorful and graphic patterns, will show her spring 2013 collection (and a peek at the summer looks) tonight at Girls Night Out, the runway event at 701 Whaley. The 11th annual fashion show, which featured Chris Benz last year, is being presented by EdVenture’s Children Museum and Coplon’s, the Forest Drive high-end retailer.

The event includes music by DJ Chris Wenner, a performance by Unbound Dance Company, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

And don’t forget about things to desire, like Turk’s aqua print pants or her yellow piquet dress.

The California-based Turk was referred to as the queen of prints in a recent issue of the lifestyle magazine Sunset. It’s a label she embraces, even though prints aren’t the extent of the line, as seen in spring blouses, blazers and trousers.

“Prints are really important to what we do as a brand,” Turk said in a phone interview last week. “As we extended into new categories, the prints have really been what have led the way. It’s been a very organic evolution that has happened because of the print identity.”

The prints have a loud nature with striking colorways, and the so-called ditsy prints (a print that is small in scale and, typically, without a definite pattern) have been eschewed.

“Part of our print identity has to do with a bold, graphic feeling,” Turk said. “There’s probably a print in our collection that contradicts what I’m saying. For the most part we lean toward graphic, bold prints.”

Turk silhouettes tend to be very simple, giving a more prominent voice to the fabric selection.

“We don’t do really complicated styling,” Turk said. “For the most part the fabric creates the interest.”

The Turk brand has extended into handbags, jewelry, iPhone cases, home furnishings and swimwear. Last year, she created a capsule collection for Banana Republic. Turk employs a design team to work on the various fashion categories.

“The main thing is making sure there is some sort of continuity,” she said.

Turk’s relationship with fashion began before she was in grade school.

“My mother struggled with me because I was really particular about clothes,” she said. “It was inherent.”

The Trina Turk customer is not a wallflower, as the wearer must be comfortable experimenting with prints. Someone who desires the look but isn’t sure about prints should start with an eye-catching color and then start introducing prints in a small way, Turk said.

“They like to look great and sort of not blend in,” Turk said of women who wear her line.

The menswear line, Mr Turk, launched in 1995 with her husband, Jonathan Skow, provides a guide for men who want to make their wardrobe less drab and monochromatic.

“I think that men have generally a quiet, shall we say, color palette,” Turk said. “I think that men are a little bit more cautious. When we go to events where men are wearing Mr Turk, they get a lot of attention and they love it.”

For a man into fashion, what could possibly be more desirable?

Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.

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