Since designer Rachel Scott launched her label Diotima in 2021, here are some images that have inspired her. Two of them are pictures of century-old Jamaican riverside women wearing the kind of long-sleeve, nipped-waist dresses Scott mentioned. “I’ve been thinking about her, and I wanted to call the series ‘River Mumma,’ which is the Jamaican word for mermaid,” Scott said. “She’s a mermaid like a siren.” A seducer, then? “Yes, but also protective.”
The balance between hiding and revealing is evident throughout Scott’s work. While crystal-covered mesh dresses and tops have become her best-known creations, her playful pattern-making shouldn’t be overlooked either. For example, a long-sleeve, high-necked cream viscose dress with an open back, and most of her cuts (often boxy or oversized) have crochet inserts or overlays to add depth to the skin and flash.
The River Mumma collection has a dreamy Pacific quality without being overly nautical. But Scott’s signature doily crochet (handcrafted by a team of Jamaican artisans Scott knows personally) is reminiscent of fishing nets. Although when they cascade down a skirt or blouse, the effect is more like fins or scales. Many of the pieces in the collection felt familiar, as if Scott was honing her signature.
One of the styles that deserved more attention was the cotton poplin Peplos dress. Aesthetically, it has to do with the picture of the woman Scott has been drawn to in the river. The way the dress drapes looks like the wearer can lift it up to keep it out of the way. Although the back is wide open, it never clings to the body. This season, she played with fabrics with large eyelets, emphasizing the protection and allure of sirens.