As it gets colder and colder outside we find ourselves already (or still?) thinking of the warmer weather that will be (we can just skip over winter, right? …right?) And the pretty prints and neon brights from Anu Raini’s spring/summer ’12 collection are doing just that.

Popsicle-colored prints and neon finger-paintings on ethereal fabrics, floating down the runway… Was anyone else at Anu Raina’s LGFW show thinking “I want to feel these on my body!”?

This is what we were dealing with: hand-printed and hand-dyed dresses, tailored jackets, and peter pan collars. Murano, Raina’s Spring/Summer ’12 collection, was a swirl of pinks, purples, and oranges; splashes and smears on the blank canvas of a slinky white number.

I had a blast and I’m not the only one – spring was shoved in our little faces and there were smiles all around. I pictured myself reaching for the blue maxi skirt instead of the Sour Cream & Onion potato chips the next time I fall into a self-loathing fest on the couch with my cat.

How does Raina make such pretty things? She admits to plagiarizing the beauty of what’s around her – the contents of the books on her shelves, the light bouncing off chandeliers in the lobby.

This collection was a nice progression from her last, where the highlight was scarves made from translucent fabrics printed with text. This season the pieces were less sober, more celebratory.

Anu Raina is a young designer from Kashmir, India, who immigrated to Canada in 2004. She works and lives in Toronto, and gushes over what a great city it is to live in as an artist. She is a graduate of the Textile Design program at Sheridan College, and a past artist-in-residence at the Harbourfront Centre. She dreams of being known as a great Canadian artist, and that reputation is quickly building – her clothing and accessories are sold in boutiques in Toronto, Vancouver, and Quebec City, and her autobiographical artwork, “Chapter 2, Page 1,” was just exhibited at the Pearson Airport to greet visitors and welcome Torontonians home.

When it was all over, I left the show and was slapped in the face by the drudgery of fall; rain and wind and awful messes. For a bit I forgot to worry about the crap waiting for me outside and for that I was an instant Raina devotee.

~ Words and photos by Faye Harnest