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Diotima's NYFW Debut Combines Dancehall-Ready Pieces With Themes of Death

Diotima's Spring 2024 collection is as raw as it is poetic.

Creative Director Rachel Scott has been thinking about death a lot lately — in particular, she's been reflecting on the aftermath of slavery in the Caribbean. And for her latest collection, the Jamaican-born designer interrogates the impacts of slavery: the colossal loss it spawns and, simultaneously, the fullness of life it can foster.

"We're so much richer as a culture than [is] often shown," Scott says of Jamaica. In the aftermath of slavery and colonialism, she says, she doesn't know if one can balance the grief with joy. Instead, it's best to understand their tensions and recognize their daily presence, rather than ignoring them.

Clothes sit at the intersection of these ideas, manifesting in a couple different ways. The design language from the 2023 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist remains consistent, underscoring the aforementioned fullness through crochet, crystal mesh, beadwork, dancehall-ready pieces and glimmers of gold.

"I wanted to find a way to have the exuberance with the somberness at the same time, that tension. I think I'm always working with tensions, whether it be the materials or how things are put together," Scott tells Fashionista.

The collection is named "Nine-Night" after the funerary tradition born in Africa and practiced across some Caribbean countries. Also referred to as Dead Yard, it's like an extended wake, lasting a handful of days, where friends and family come together. The clothes are meditations on this. The night song, central to the ceremony, is reflected in darker-hued garments: Deep evening skies become onyx beads. White chalk used in the commemoration manifests as a main colorway for fringed sets, button-up shirts or the yarn of a tank top.

Scott also brought in a new energy for Spring 2024 with the help of a fellow Jamaican creative.

"I did a collaboration with an artist in Jamaica, Laura Facey. Her work tries to deal with the legacy of slavery and colonialism. While working, I kept thinking about this idea of death, and some of her work is very similar," Scott tells Fashionista. Facey carved the heart pendants that models wore as earrings and necklaces.

In fact, Facey's recent exhibition, "Laboratory of the Ticking Heart" partly inspired the collection, as Scott reveals its "haunting energy" lingered with her. The two connected online and then in Jamaica before deciding to join forces for the spring collection.

Monday's show marks Diotima's first-ever presentation during New York Fashion Week since it was founded in 2021. Scott wanted to take this chance to enchant visitors and play with newness. She deployed her signature crystal mesh in fringe form, new iterations of her macramé knotting, and even a few pairs of shoes, entering the brand into a new category.

Keep scrolling to see every look from Diotima's Spring 2024 collection.

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

<p>Photo: Courtesy of Diotima</p>

Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

Diotima Spring 2024. Photo: Courtesy of Diotima

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