Trina Turk Dishes on Dwell on Design

Veer left — whether it’s at the Rose Bowl Flea Market or Pizzeria Mozza

The design obsessed and their fashionable kin were at Dwell on Design this past weekend to preview the latest in eco-friendly and modular designs ranging from retrofitted Airstream trailers to hand carved wooden tables made by hand here in Los Angeles. In a nod to the success of Mad Men, there were several pieces of furniture named “Draper” available from various design houses including H.D. Buttercup in Helms Bakery. The highlights of the weekend were designer Michael Graves’ inspiring talk on the future of design and actor Bryan Cranston’s peek into his home. (It’s a far cry from his trailer on Breaking Bad.) Los Angeles designer Trina Turk, who participated in a couple panel discussions at the festival, talked with us about all things style in Los Angeles.

You’re well known for your flea market finds. What are your secrets for the Rose Bowl Flea Market?
I used to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market religiously. Always go to the left. I’ve actually never been to the right. The bargains and the vintage shoes and accessories are way, way to the left, past the aqueduct and the bridges. The dealers in the design business all know this. You also have to know what you’re looking for and have to have the right timing. My husband, Jonathan, was a fashion stylist when we first moved to LA, so we were always looking for something. What I found is that you never find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for vintage golf clubs you won’t find them but next month that’s all you will find. You’ll find a bathing suit cover up in the winter and a fur coat in the summer. Now, the problem is that people recognize me so I don’t get deals. In the mid ’80s I would get bargains all the time.

How much does travel play into your designs?
I travel to New York quite often, but once a year we usually go to some place that we’ve never been before. This year we’re going to Berlin and Capri; it’s a little bit of city and a little bit of beach. That’s important.

What are you addicted to right now?
Instagram. I’ve found my medium (@TrinaTurk). I like to hone my photography skills.

Favorite place to get a cup of coffee?
Intelligentsia, but I don’t like the attitude when I ask for decaf. So I make decaf French roast from Peet’s at home when I don’t want regular. 

Favorite treat?
When you walk into Pizzeria Mozza, veer left and get the dark chocolate discs. They are genius. I eat them for breakfast. It’s Columbian bittersweet chocolate. I eat it with my coffee. 

Where is your office located?
Our offices are in lovely Alhambra, California. It is south of South Pasadena between the 10 freeway and South Pasadena. No one knows where it is and they all think it’s so far, but actually, it’s not that far. There are a lot of cute houses from the 1930s and ’40s with a lot of charm. It’s worth checking out. There is a beautiful Alhambra in Spain that I think the city is named after.

What is your logo based on?
Concrete blocks in Palm Springs, a lot of mid-century homes have this pattern. We use it for all kinds of things from bags to clothing.

Walking through Dwell, I noticed several pieces of furniture from different companies and even a few watches named “Draper.” Any thoughts?
Well, we’ve been doing it since 1995. We don’t have anything called the Draper. I love the show, though.