Grab a Riki Tiki and kick back. Trina Turk, the gorgeous designer known for creating rainbow-bright, ’60s-inspired glad rags for the fab and foxy—Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, and Taylor Swift are just a few of her clients—was just about to share the secrets of her laid-back entertaining style. Trina’s passion for color, prints, and ’60s and ’70s cocktail culture define how she and her husband Jonathan Skow, the designer behind their menswear line, Mr. Turk, entertain in their chic Los Angeles and Palm Springs pads. Let’s listen in.
First things first, Trina. What do you like to wear when hosting a party?
I love the idea of a “hostess dress.” To me, that means wearing a kaftan or longer-length dress that’s easy and unstructured so I can run around and do what needs to be done.
Does your L.A. hostess look differ from your Palm Springs look?
Yes. I never wear black in Palm Springs – except for swimwear. Right now, I love this silk crêpe de chine dress from our new collection in brilliant fuchsia or amazon green since it works well in both places.
Trina’s 1936 Palm Springs abode is the perfect home for her vintage glass collection
Do your guests wear Trina Turk or Mr. Turk to your parties?
Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It’s certainly not expected! Most of our guests tend to have design or fashion backgrounds, so they have plenty of personal style and would not be likely to emulate ours.
Okay, let’s get tipsy. What’s your best tip for…
Throwing a memorable dinner party?
You have to have the right mix of guests and seat them well if it’s a sit-down dinner. The food is important, of course, but not as important as great conversation.
Creating a chic, last-minute centerpiece with flowers from the grocery store?
Separate the various varieties of flowers and do small, low, minimalist arrangements.
Trina’s Palm Springs dining room
Being a great host?
Provide your guests with a beautiful setting, and the best food, drink, music, and company you can muster. Also, be genuinely attentive to your guests.
Being a great guest?
Arrive in a great mood, ready to chat up someone you’ve never met before.
Speaking of guests, who would you host at your fantasy dinner party?
Rudi Gernreich, Bonnie Cashin, Charles and Ray Eames, and Alexander Girard.
What’s your signature summer party detail?
In the desert, I like to serve Lillet on the rocks with an orange peel spiral as an apéritif. I make a delicious Caesar salad, which is an excellent accompaniment to cold roasted chicken at a casual pool party.
Trina, her husband Jonathan Skow, Jurnee Smollett, Josiah Bell, and Cameron Silver
What’s your favorite centerpiece?
I love mixing pincushion proteas and succulents.
What’s the best party you’ve ever hosted?
When we were in college, Jonathan and I spent a lot of time scouring thrift stores for exciting vintage finds. One year, we decided to throw a holiday party in his downtown Seattle apartment. We brought in a giant bale of vintage clothing, broke it open, and let everyone dive in and grab whatever they could scoop up before someone else did. There were only a handful of choice pieces in the bale, so it was fun. Although it was humble compared to the museum and fashion events we attend now, it’s the one that comes to mind first.
You inspire so many with your entertaining skills. What party host inspires you?
Architect Barbara Bestor knows so many people and is excellent at connecting them. You meet the most intriguing mix of people at her Silverlake parties. Everyone knows Barbara!
Playing Favorites with Trina Turk
Black and white plates from Marimekko, Heath stoneware, and vintage Indian Feast and Window to Happiness Mikasa stoneware. For a more formal table, I like this Haviland Limoges china.
Favorite table linens?
I have a weakness for vintage Vera napkins. For a more formal table, I like vintage white linen jacquard napkins in discreet jacquard patterns.
Trina’s home bar is filled with beautiful vintage finds
For casual parties, I like vintage Blenko tumblers and vintage Tiffin Franciscan Madeira glasses. I also like these simple and colorful iittala glasses. For a dressier table, I like this collection from ittala.
Arne Jacobsen for A. Michelsen. My collection is vintage, but they still sell it here. I also have a Thai collection of brass flatware from the ’60s and ’70s that I love.
Favorite tabletop accessories?
Tommy Parzinger. I’m crazy about his candelabra, candlesticks, ice buckets, and appetizer trays.
Favorite powder room candle?
Le Labo Santal
Favorite powder room soap?
Aesop soap with mandarin, rosemary, and cedarwood
Trina, thanks for stopping by, and, as they said in the swinging 60s, SWAK!
Photos: Trina Turk, One Kings Lane, Domaine Home, Getty