A Decade of Design


Elaine Turner

Elaine Turner is turning 10. And what a decade it’s been. We sat down for a one-on-one chat with the designer who always knows how to make resort wear uber chic. Read our interview as Elaine dishes on the past decade, her hopes for the future, and how one little flowerpot-top handle bag started it all.

Rue La La: Who and what have been some of your biggest influences over the past decade?
Elaine: I am influenced by many things – seaside destinations, modern art, architecture, and interior design. Over the past decade I have been primarily influenced by iconic fashion and interior designers – Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Diane Von Furstenberg, Trina Turk, and Milly – to name a few.

Rue La La: What inspires you?
Elaine: Bold colors, graphic prints, unexpected combinations of materials, and also the glamour, modernism, and nostalgia of the mid-century time period of the late 1950s and 60s.

Rue La La: Do you still love something you made in 2000 as much as you do today?
Elaine: Yes! Two of my favorite bags were the “Jackie” and “Maria” tote – both were raffia bags with hard tortoise handles that I’d still sport today.

Rue La La: What are some of your favorite pieces from the past decade?
Elaine: In 2005, we designed an assortment of envelope clutches and to this day our “Alice” clutch is one of my favorites. Another is our reinterpretation of the renowned “Kelly” bag.

Rue La La: And what are you hung up on from your current collection?
Elaine: I love the beach-chic style of our “Sandy” tote. She is great for travel or sitting by the pool. Olivia is also a personal favorite. She is a glamorous cross-body that is perfect for a woman on the go!

Rue La La: How are you going to celebrate your 10-year mark?
Elaine: We are commemorating this event by launching an “Elaine Turner Vintage” capsule collection this fall. We are bringing back two iconic Elaine Turner handbags: the “Pamela” tote and the “Alexandra” clutch. Both were integral to our success.

Rue La La: Every decade has its signature trends. Your highlights from this past decade?
Elaine: The return of 80’s glam, the evolution of the jeans business and watching jeans become a true fashion statement, the revival of the ballet flat, looser and more casual dressing, the statement necklace, colorful accessories, the oversized handbag, booties, gladiator sandals, stilettos – it’s endless!

Rue La La: Share a favorite red carpet fashion moment from this decade.
Elaine: When Reese Witherspoon wore the short, yellow cocktail dress that Nina Ricci designed to the Golden Globes in 2007. Fresh, sophisticated, and sexy all in one. Fabulous!

Rue La La: What were you wearing 10 years ago that still stands the test of time?
Elaine: Pencil skirts, fitted jackets, and crisp white shirts.

Rue La La: How about something you wore then that you wouldn’t wear today?
Elaine: Pantyhose!

June 18, 2010