Photos by Amanda Coen for Ecouterre

Earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, stock-market crashes; is it any wonder that Suzanne Rae yearns for simpler times? Showcasing her Spring/Summer 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week on Monday, the Brooklyn designer delivered a convergence of bikinis, playsuits, and fluttery gowns—constructed from organic cotton, recycled hemp, raw silk, and even raffia—on a platform that was more boardwalk than runway. Her nostalgia for the past was apparent: Paired with tai-chi flats and Tumbleweeds sunglasses made in San Diego from remnant woods, Rae’s beachy, laid-back looks ushered a rare moment of calm amidst the tumult.

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A collaboration with Renato D’Agostin and his Tokyo Untitled series of photographs, Rae’s collection evokes folk-island culture before the industrial revolution, a time when we only had what was “necessary for survival,” she tells Ecouterre. Modest doesn’t mean blah, however. Equal parts lush and sophisticated, Rae’s comfort-driven aesthetic is evident in the easy contours of her pieces and their Zen-infused tones of indigo and cream. They provide a quiet respite in the face of today’s chaos, along with a sliver of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

+ Suzanne Rae