02/12/2013 01:24 EST | Updated 04/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Trina Turk brings a southern California accent to her debut NY Fashion Week collection

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Designer Trina Turk has an easy answer to the question of what's she's doing that's new at New York Fashion Week:

She's showing at New York Fashion Week.

In an interview just before her first presentation at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center, she explained: "I started this company in my house in southern California. It's been slow and steady growth. But now we're 17 years old, and I said to myself: 'What are we waiting for?'"

For the fall season, Turk said she was focusing on "elevating the sophistication level of what we do. More layered looks, textures and rich colours."

Those rich, fall-like colours were readily visible in the collection on display Sunday afternoon: Plums, as in a crepe jumpsuit with a silk georgette blouse and long leather plum gloves. Wines, as in a lush lamb-and-rabbit coat. Purples, as in a bright toggle coat. Or saffron, as in a pair of patchwork trousers.

There was also a wildly colorful column dress in what Turk calls an "Embarcadero" print. And there were shorts, albeit in fall and winter fabrics, like houndstooth.

Turk said the goal was to represent "our roots — the architecture and landscapes of southern California." She also wanted to reflect the area's cultural mix — both in the clothes and even in the casting of the models, who, she said, came "from all over the place."

Turk did not seem too bothered by the winter storm that had blown in two days earlier, leaving streets full of messy slush.

"I was afraid some people wouldn't be able to get here, but we're all here, the models are here, everyone's here," she said. "I think it would be very hard to shut down New York."