by Maxine Wally – 18th August 2021
Debbie Harry took lockdown as an opportunity to organize the clothing she’s worn to red carpet events, photo shoots, and while filming music videos over her 45 years as Blondie’s frontwoman. After writing her memoir, Face It, in 2019, she endeavored to organize her ephemera and memorabilia—that included the photos, gifts, and costumes filling up her closets and storage units. “I don’t know that anything will ever come of it, but mentally, it’s really good to arrange it all,” she says on a call from Los Angeles. “I’m taking charge, dammit!”
This process wasn’t without its trips down memory lane. While Harry revisited an entire archive’s worth of looks, she stumbled upon two outfits in particular that struck a nostalgic cord: one camouflage outfit made by the designer Stephen Sprouse, done in vibrant DayGlo lettering and Pop Art colors; she wore it for the cover shoot of her solo album Rockbird. And then there was the costume made of an olive and brown camouflage pattern that Andy Warhol created for her. “There was this juxtaposition of dark, traditional camouflage and neon colors,” she recalls. “And it was kind of beautiful.”
Today, Harry debuts a different kind of camouflage look: this time, it’s designed by Stuart Vevers, the creative director of Coach. The musician stars in the brand’s latest campaign for its Camo Collection, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Jeremy Lin, Quincy, and Lolo Zouaï. Bladi Corniel, a photographer who’s part of A$AP Rocky’s AWGE creative agency, shot and directed the clothing—done in Coach’s camo print first introduced in 2015, with a neon update.
Just one year after that iconic print hit stores, Harry struck up a relationship with Vevers and the brand. The creative director, who is a known Blondie fan, invited the musician to walk in Coach’s runway show on New York City’s High Line for spring 2016 (“I was very flattered that he wanted me to walk my plump little body down the runway,” Harry recalls). Since then, she’s made more appearances at shows, including Coach’s Prom in Paris and during the fall 2020 show in February of last year, where she performed her band’s hits alongside garage-punk band The Coathangers.
Soon after, the world went into lockdown. While tending an Achilles injury, Harry spent her time reading and “scribbling,” as she puts it—writing down her ideas “on scraps of paper, and then eventually, I make a long page of a couple of lists of things that are ideas, potential hooks, or lines for songs.” Once she was able to “hobble around,” Harry embarked on her organizational project, neatly storing the getups she wore through the 1970s and 1980s. “I’m pleased and proud to announce that some of the early costumes I can sort of fit into,” she adds. “I say ‘sort of’—I’m giving myself a little break.”