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The fashion world is paying tribute to Stephen Sprouse. A new book showcasing the late designer’s talents has just been published, and Marc Jacobs, who famously worked with his friend on a collection for Louis Vuitton in 2000, has spearheaded a second Sprouse-inspired line of graffitied handbags and accessories that hits stores this week. But no celebration of this quintessential downtown figure would be complete without Debbie Harry, who is slated to perform at the party Vuitton is throwing tonight at the Bowery Ballroom.

Sprouse knew it takes a certain type of woman to rock Day-Glo and Velcro, his cutting-edge additions to eighties fashion. Luckily for him, that womanóHarryólived next door. The pair met in 1975 when Sprouse moved into her apartment building on the Bowery. Blondie’s self-titled debut album dropped the following year, and Sprouse decked the group’s frontwoman in slashed T-shirts, mini jumpers, and neon headbands. The asymmetrical one-strap dress she worked in the video for “Heart of Glass” was a Sprouse original, designed from a photo he took of static lines on his TV. In Harry, Sprouse found a figure whose downtown vibe was the real deal (this was before the Bowery came with a Whole Foods), and his experiments with the peroxide blonde vaulted her to icon status. Of course, that voiceóand those cheekbonesódidn’t hurt either.

Alison Baenen

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