What’s that quote about the true test of intelligence being able to hold two opposing views at the same time? That came to mind while looking at Rachel Scott’s latest collection for Diotima. The hero pieces from the collection are the batty riders (Jamaican slang for hot pants) and see-through sequin mesh dresses worn sans bra. And yet, it is all sophisticated. Since launching her label, Scott has fused mannish tailoring with a dancehall sensibility, making for interesting collections and combinations that might not always be wearable, but are unmistakably her.
“The collection began with me trying to create the perfect batty rider,” Scott says. One pair is hibiscus red and made from a woven waxed fabric and paired with a matching boxy blazer. Another pair is made from the same special textile in black, and styled with a mesh collared cardigan and a blazer made from Harris Tweed wool with crochet insets made by female artisans in Kingston. A pair of cobalt silk satin shorts is decidedly sporty, while a black sequin mesh pair is destined for the club. My favorite iteration are the batty rider suit pants, where a pair of wide-leg trousers are broken up at the upper thigh by a knitted section. Slacks just got exciting. The suit is completed by a boxy jacket cinched in the front and back to give both a sense of ease and a nipped waist. Again, two opposing views held at the same time.
Many of Scott’s designs are, on the surface, audacious. For instance, a micro-sequin mesh midi dress is made from orange and blue sequins to give it a sea-like color. Ella it’s all tempered by her tailoring her, which still has cheeky touches like the aforementioned stealth hotpants and crochet cutouts. The balance of sensuality and traditionalism is a quality that’s best handled by female designers. Ella’s Scott’s designs have the same peculiar whimsy that you see in some of Phoebe Philo or Rachel Comey’s designs (not incidentally, Scott worked for Comey). That sense of fun was amplified by two special model muses/dancehall artists who appeared in the lookbook: Dancehall Queen Carlene, and Patra. Some clothes you don’t need presence or charisma to pull off entirely, but those clothes aren’t Diotima.
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