The presidential election has finally come to an end, but we're still feeling the residual patriotic-ness and our annual America issue is on stands right now. Which is why each Private Icon this month hails from an iconic, American neighborhood that was pivotal in the development in our country's music history. So get ready for a few really good flashbacks and prepare to pay your respects to some women you should channel every morning when you zip up your skinny jeans.
After Laurel Canyon's Michelle Phillips, we're heading to a 'hood not too far from the NYLON office this week. New York City's Lower East Side has meant many things to many different people, but of all its moments--immigrant (my great-great grandparents included) launch pad to sleek club destination--our favorite is probably during the late '60s through late '70s, when it became a stomping ground for the city's punk bands. From Talking Heads to Richard Hell, its run-down apartments were where some of the most iconic songs of the era were first written.
But few left as stylish a mark on music history than Blondie's Debbie Harry. On the surface, the Miami-born singer was a total pin-up. But look closely and you realize just how subversive it all was. Take her blonde hair: Instead of long, shiny locks Harry went for a look that made you wonder just how late she stayed up the night before. The same goes for her outfits, which veered towards winking sex kitten; yes, she may have worn over-the-knee boots or lace-up short shorts, but Harry also favored worn-in rock tees and classic Wayfarers. It's no surprise that she didn't just catch the ear of America, but the eye of designers like Stephen Sprouse (that's one of his designs she's wearing in the "Heart of Glass" music video). The look feels just as fresh today as it did in 1975--and like Blondie's big hits, will probably never get old.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS