Debbie was born Angela Trimble in Florida in 1945 and adopted by a New Jersey couple who renamed her. She moved to New York in the late 60s and worked various jobs including a secretary, waitress, go go dancer and playboy bunny.
Her first band was called ‘The Wind in the Willows’, then ‘The Stilettos’ and finally ‘Angel and the Snake’ which went on to become Blondie in 1974, named after the catcall men often directed at Debbie. They became regulars at CBGB in New York. With her shaggy bleached blonde hair (an ode to Marilyn Monroe), signature streetwise style, voice and confidence, Harry quickly became a New Wave Punk icon. Blondie had huge success in the late 70s and Debbie went on to a solo career and acting roles in the 80s.
Andy Warhol immortalized her in a number of iconic artworks in 1980. One of these recently sold for $5.9 million. Harry said of her relationship with Warhol, "I think the best thing [Andy Warhol] taught me was always to be open to new things, new music, new style, new bands, new technology and just go with it. Never get mired in the past and always accept new things whatever age you are.”
She became an advocate for designer Stephen Sprouse starting with a dress he designed for the 1979 Heart of Glass music video. The dress was made from prints of television pixels transposed onto asymmetrical pieces of fabric, so when Harry moved around the garment floated around her. This helped his career take off. She later said that he became the closest thing to a personal stylist she had. (We wrote about him in our punk designers blog post last year)
Her eclectic style defined a generation. She is a fan of bold colours, mixing prints, bodysuits, simple dresses, sequins, distressed denim, tights with t shirts, black sunglasses, leather jackets and thrifty punk tees.
She has a knack for combining DIY punk sensibilities with a touch of glamour. One of her most iconic outfits has to be from the photo of her in 1978 at the Whisky a Go Go wearing the yellow Vulture t-shirt, skin tight black pants held up with a safety pin and a black beret (inspired by Bonnie and Clyde).
Today at 78, Debbie is still playing shows with Blondie and can be spotted at fashion week events in Paris and New York. Many modern artists emulate her look including Miley Cyrus, Taylor Momsen and Sky Ferreira.
She is the ultimate all-American rock goddess with a fashion legacy that speaks for itself.
Below is a lookbook we put together of outfits inspired her style. All of the items used are available for sale in our store.
The Double Denim Queen
The Punk Annie Hall
Pretty in Pink
The Leather Clad Rocker
The zebra print dress was originally a pillowcase. The image appeared in Creem magazine.
Minimalist Disco Dress Diva