Magazines + Newspapers


March 13th 2006

Pages 145, 146

Heart of Class

Images: Daniela Federici/Corbis Outline: Inset: Christopher Little

One way or another, Deborah Harry has remained a fashion force in pop music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s newest member riffs on her best and worst looks over the years.

Long before Madonna, Deborah Harry defined blonde ambition. Belting out hits like “Rapture” and “Call Me,” the singer made her mark as frontwoman of new-wave group Blondie. And now, three decades after the band first rocked New York City’s CBGB, Blondie will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13. “It’s a great honor,” says Harry, 60, of the musical milestone, which coincides with a new album, Blondie: Greatest Hits – Sound & Vision, and a U.S. tour. Of course, Harry, whose looks ranged from punked-out Marilyn Monroe dresses to plastic jumpsuits, is known as much for her stage style as for her songs. “I was always very amused and amazed with her fashion,” says band cofounder (and former beau) Chris Stein. And still is. “I have a lot of this stuff in a couple of trunks,” says Harry. “I took out an old Army jumpsuit recently and wore that.” Here, the pair look back at some memorable styles.

A VISIONARY, 1978: For the “Heart of Glass” video, “Stephen Sprouse [who designed many of her clothes] blew up the pixels from a TV screen and made this print. He put a layer of cotton fabric underneath and a layer of chiffon on top, and the scane lines would do this op-art thing.”

Wigging Out
1982 “That stupid wig!” says Stein. “I remember going to London after that album came out and seeing girls with that hair actually on the street. That was amazing.”

1982 “It was front-page news when she first appeared without blonde hair,” says Stein. Adds Harry: “I had every color wig and would wear a dress the same color.”

THE TRUMAN SHOW, 1979: “Oh, man! It’s Truman [Capote], look! And he does look like William Blake! He does!” says Stein, recalling the Studio 54 party for Blondie’s Interview magazine cover. “And there’s Lorna Luft! Andy Warhol was there, but he was like the Pope. He didn’t have to say anything when he walked into a room.”

A TIME TO REFLECT, 1978: “This is the mirror suit,” says Harry. While two guys in the pit shined spotlights on her, “I’d have these truck mirrors in my hand, hold them up and blind everyone in the audience. They’d all go, ‘Aagggghhhhh!’ It was so much fun.”

BANDIT QUEEN, 1978: “Those were my street clothes,” insists Harry, though she can’t explain the handkerchief over her face.

By Ericka Souter. Natasha Stoynoff in New York City.

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