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Trina Turk Went to Cuba and Brought Back Rum, Cigars, and Cool Straw Hats

Welcome to Style Sabbaticals, where we reveal what the fashion industry's top professionals did on their Miami vacay and, most importantly, where they shopped!

Instagram/<a href="https://instagram.com/trinaturk">Trina Turk</a>
Instagram/Trina Turk

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If you follow Trina Turk on Instagram, you may have noticed the colorful print designer was snapping away at very familiar grounds little over a week ago, shortly before landing on an island famous for mojitos, cafecitos, and guayaberas. Yes, Trina Turk went to Cuba, but not without dipping her toes in Miami's waters first!

After a brief siesta at The Breakers in Palm Beach, where you can find her prints on the historic hotel's outdoor furniture, Trina chilled out at the James Royal Palm Hotel and visited her Bal Harbour Shops boutique. She then flew off to Havana, where she and Mr. Turk took in the scenery, rode around in vintage cars, and managed to outfit an entire band in Trina Turk and Mr. Turk clothing.

Surprisingly, she didn't have too much to reveal about Havana's shopping scene, but who's to say some of the midcentury modern art and architecture she came across won't make its way into her Spring 2016 lines? Read through to find out what Trina did on her trip to Miami and Havana in this special edition of Style Sabbaticals.

Instagram/Trina Turk

Where did you stay while you were here in Miami?

We stayed at the James Royal Palm Hotel before flying to Havana. Our trip to Cuba was a cultural exchange architectural tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy.

What did you pack?

Printed shorts, tops, dresses from Trina Turk Spring 2015, a few prototypes from our summer collection, and lots of sunglasses!

Instagram/Trina Turk

We saw you traveled to Cuba. What was Havana like?

Havana has incredible buildings from the 17th century to midcentury modern, many in various states of disrepair or decay. The city is vibrant and there is a feeling of optimism in the air about the relaxation of the US embargo. The people are great—talkative and opinionated with a great sense of humor about the state of affairs in Cuba. Vintage 1950s American cars are everywhere, along with Russian Ladas. The style is limited by what the Cubans can get their hands on. Some of the women who worked in official jobs wore chic uniforms-- olive twill short sleeved safari jackets with tight skirts and crazy fishnet hosiery, or low slung flares that look like they might have been from the 1970s.  Everyone embraced color in a huge way—men included. Many of the men had meticulously styled geometric hair looks.

Instagram/Trina Turk

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight was seeing the amazingly well-preserved midcentury modern architecture in Havana. In particular, the Habana Riviera and the Habana Libre hotels, which had much of their original detailing, art installations, and interior design intact.

Ok, spill. Where did you incur the most shopping damage?

To be honest, there's not a lot of shopping to be done in Cuba unless you're buying art, cigars, or rum! We bought all of the above, plus local craft accessories in Trinidad like cool plaid straw hats, hand crocheted totes and ponchos, and traditional linen pleated front guayabera shirts.

Instagram/Trina Turk

Did anything from your Havana and Miami trip inspire you for your next collection?

I was most inspired by the vibrant organic modernist work of Cuban artist Amelia Palaez.

What about Cuba surprised you during your stay?

Everything. Cuba is a country of beautiful contradictions.

Describe Havana in one word.

Surrealistic.