News Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein Reminisce About Their Game-Changing Band's Early Days By InStyle Editors InStyle Editors Facebook Instagram Twitter Our editors and writers comprise decades of expertise across the beauty, fashion, lifestyle and wellness spaces in print and digital. We prioritize journalistic integrity, factual accuracy, and also having fun with every story we share. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on September 25, 2014 @ 12:15PM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Roberta Bayley/Redferns Ever wonder where fashion and music first hit it off? Here's at least one answer: Bobern Bar & Grill, 42 W. 28th St., New York City. That's where a young photographer named Chris Stein saw Debbie Harry perform in 1973. At the time, she was part of the all-girl group the Stilettos, but soon the two would start Blondie. Their first show was at the now-legendary CBGB, today a John Varvatos boutique. Immediately, Harry's style, pixieish beauty, and punk ethos made her a fashion icon. Stein, meanwhile, captured the band's meteoric rise, and the ever-closer commingling of the fashion and music industries, with his camera. Forty-one years after that fateful moment, the sometime lovers, friends, and bandmates remember the early days: Chris Stein: The first time I saw you perform, you were wearing a glittery silver pantsuit thing. I thought you looked cool. Debbie Harry: In those days we were pretty experimental, inheriting clothes or swapping them, or picking up stuff from the thrift stores on the Bowery. But you were a good critic. You could always tell me if something looked good or not. A lot of guys can't do that. Stein: We didn't read fashion magazines back then—that was a whole other reality for us. We were in this fringe downtown clique. Harry: I could never really afford anything in them anyway. By necessity I tried to go for a rougher edge. I'd take dresses from the 1940s, break them apart, wear them in sections. I'd mess things up. Stein: The whole punk aesthetic was as much about a destruction of style as it was of music. Harry: We went through periods of evolution, style-wise. I guess we still are. When [fashion designer] Stephen Sprouse came on the scene, he cleaned us up. He was into minimalist androgynous '60s looks. Remember we used to swap clothes? I remember going down to a loft on Chrystie Street where the New York Dolls lived. There was just a pile of clothing in this huge loft. When they had a gig, they'd dig into the pile. Watching them get dressed was better than the show. Stein: Sprouse changed everything. With his appearance in the milieu, fashion and music became a lot closer. He was friends with Andy Warhol and was always emulating him. Harry: The relationship between fashion and music has gotten much more important through the years. Stein: Yes, it's much more refined and defined now. The model of a rock star now is completely different. Harry: Yes, I remember, when I was exploring those thrift stores on the Bowery, I was obsessed with the tailoring, the pleats, the cuffs. You can still find them today, but now it's couture. Stein: Yeah, unless you're lucky, the only things left in junk shops are junk. To find out more about Blondie, nab Chris Stein's new book, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk ($55; barnesandnoble.com). This interview was featured in our special Fashion Rocks magazine for InStyle subscribers. (Not a subscriber? Become one here.) Discover more bands that are currently on our radar now!