Shimmering, botany-inspired styles

Runa Ray presented an awe-inspiring collection of all-natural, feminine ensembles at NYFW’s First Stage. Imagine, the title of her collection, was influenced by the incredible natural elements that are used to dye and weave fibers. The show was fun to watch, and the clothes were relaxed, casual and fashionable.

Ray opened her show with a series of neutral cream silk pieces in leaves and floral print, designed in a fossilized motif. Oversized flutter sleeves were featured on her ivory and blush pieces which were sprinkled with a hint of sparkle. Ray showed a variety of silhouettes, extending from dresses and jumpsuits to separates and even menswear.

For men, there were bold harem pants and detailed tops that wowed guests on the spring/summer catwalk. For both men and women, natural leaf embroidery touches trickled throughout the line. Glitter overlays, rich florals and gold tones elevated the final series of the presentation. One dress made an impact as it was scripted with the words, “Imagination is the Only Weapon Against Reality.”

Ray used ancient techniques in treating the materials represented in her collection. She explained, “I have used hand-woven fabrics such as bamboo silks, bamboo cottons and silks. Natural dyes such as Indian madder, indigo, pomegranate peels and areca nut create a medicinal benefit that’s found in the womenswear lining and fashionable menswear jackets and bottoms.” While designing, she used handwoven, organically dyed and printed fabrics, which give the collection an enchanted forest, botanical feel.

Ray was born of Indian heritage, and she was educated in Bangalore, a city in the south of India. “Together we can save our planet from ecological waste and fast fashion. Fashion can be a powerful tool to educate and push people to join in saving and preserving our planet,” stated the designer.