I learned a new word backstage before the Phelan show: diegetic. It’s a filmmaking term that, when applied to the audio realm, describes a “sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film.”
In other words, a union of sound and vision.
We were invited to join Brooklyn-based designer Amanda Phelan and crew during rehearsal for her show, which was set to include a dance ensemble. As she described how the performance and sound accompaniment would underscore the actual collection for spring ’17, her partner, music designer Mike Dragovic, dropped the word on me as a way of explaining how the dancers and his soundtrack would double and juxtapose to suggest a sort of real and extra-real or hyperreal experience.
Designer Amanda Phelan and choreographer Shannon Gillen watch dancers rehearse before the Phelan show on Thursday night.
All images by Carmen Daneshmandi
It takes a brave emerging designer to show an important collection inside a heady, mesmerizing theater concept. Most would fear the distraction and avoid the possibility of the audience focusing on anything other than the clothing. But as she’s shared with us in past seasons, Amanda is committed to forgoing a traditional runway in favor of performative presentations.