PICTURE THIS: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein dropped in on Paris Fashion Week on Saturday for the opening of an exhibition of Stein’s photographs documenting the heyday of Blondie.
The duo showed up fashionably late to the event held at the Galerie Agnès Monplaisir on the Left Bank. Harry was dressed in a vintage black skirt suit and gold sneakers, with opera glasses dangling from a fine gold chain. “It looks nice and it works — I mean as eyeglasses,” she said.
The exhibition features 28 original black-and-white and color prints from Stein’s book “Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk.” Available in limited editions of eight and signed by the artist, they are priced 7,500 euros, or $8,400 at current exchange.
“I sort of change back and forth — I love different ones at different times. But I think he’s got a real great eye and he always uses natural light,” Harry said.
The picture on the invitation shows the Blondie singer standing in the beam of a spotlight in a yellow dress, the first one made for her by Stephen Sprouse. She credited the late designer with shaping her image as a fashion icon.
“I don’t know that I am an influence, but I think a lot of people really love Stephen, and he was a courageous young designer at a time when I think things may have been a bit more conservative, and I think he was a good influence,” she said.
“People saw me in his clothing and they associate us that way, but I think fashion-wise I’m really not as chic as a lot of people are, but I have a good reputation from the past,” she added.
The Paris show is an extension of Blondie’s 40th anniversary, which was marked last year by the release of the book and exhibitions in New York and London.
“This is fun, it’s gratifying, everybody seems to like the stuff,” said Stein, noting that the London exhibit drew 50,000 visitors. “All my friends who are photographers had some sort of Blondie something or other, so it’s nice that I waited a little bit.”
His favorite shot in the Paris exhibition is an image of Harry walking down the street with Blondie drummer Clem Burke.
“That’s a little moment captured in time. It’s hard to decipher why everybody in the crowd is looking at them, whether it’s because Debbie is blowing a whistle. I always think it’s just because of the way they look, you know, but it’s probably a bunch of elements,” he said.