Vogue - May 2003
Pages 143, 182, 183
beauty: how to do...
Eyeliner - glamour in a stick -
is summer's big make-up trend.
Time to experiment, says Anna-Marie Solowij
Indelibly etched on to our style memories are images of Dusty Springfield, Nico, Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde - all women for whom black eyeliner was more than just make-up. Their iconic looks pulsed through the shows, including Chanel, Moschino, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Prada.
What makes the look fresh now is how it's worn - with clean skin and bare lips (although Kelly Osbourne carries off a full-make-up look with style). Add to this a "no-rules" approach to application - eyeliner was used to pencil in lashes at Prada; to outline eyeshadow at Martine Sitbon; "ticked out" to create an oriental eye shape at Moschino - and suddenly it's indispensable.
Few things are as fascinating as fame, so when three pairs of icons from the fashion, music and art worlds paired up in conversation, we just had to listen in.
EDITED BY HARRIET QUICK. DEBBIE HARRY PIC - KEETJAALLARD. STELLA McCARTNEY PIC - JAKE GAVIN. HAIR: MAARIT NIEMELA. MAKE-UP: CAROL MORLEY
WHO'S TALKING: phoning from her London studio, Stella McCartney chats to punk icon Debbie Harry in New York.
WHEN: Wednesday February 12.
WHY: Debbie was Stella's teen idol; now Debbie has become a fan of Stella's designs.
STELLA: It's so strange doing phone interviews... Talking weirdness.
DEBBIE: Good, though, because you can "meet" over the phone, get all the stuff out of the way, and later it's a little bit easier. But since we met at your New York shop opening, we're all covered. We're all done.
SM: OK, that's the end of it then. Cup of tea? Debbie, do you take it as a massive compliment that you're such an influence on young designers?
DH: It's terrific. I guess the sort of concoction that came out of our little era was instrumental, yes.
SM: But just about everything that you've worn has been inspirational. Are you aware of that?
DH: I honestly think it was a sign of the times and of our subculture. For me, a great deal of the organisation and the ability to make it really seem focused was because of working with Steve Sprouse.
SM: So you did actually premeditate a "look"? Because it comes across as you just looking fabulous - something which came from your personality and your music.
DH: Well, I think it was... But Steve's genius was to organise all of that in a simple, economic way where people could see that there was a look. He incorporated some of his own dresses - those little ballet-neck dresses and the little simple A-line things he made for Halston - and brought in the high boots and the little beret. It was just really hot. It was fortunate somehow that for my body type, it all clicked.
SM: Your lips kind of helped as well, Debbie... That red lipstick was the icing on the cake. But were you aware, when you were playing clubs and just breaking, of people taking on your look?
DH: I don't feel that I was completely responsible for any of this. I mean, I think that I became famous and photographed. A lot of the girls from London and New York, from the underground, the subculture, were dressing like this. They were assembling clothes they liked and it was all done on a budget. And it just had that personal touch to it... That's really what starts any trend in fashion. It's a matter of practicality, usually. And then a designer will just come in and say, "Wow, those elements," and really make them explicit.
SM: My whole take on what I do is very influenced by that era - it's also what I grew up in. The way my mum dressed was very much a reflection of her personality. It was the first time women were allowed to be free and mix whatever they wanted and express themselves sexually. When I design a top I don't ever expect someone to wear it with a pair of trousers that I designed. I'm more about taking something old, something new, and mixing them.
DH: People did have a little bit more fun then, I think. I really love the things that you design, especially those enormous sweaters with the little briefs underneath - such a great look, and it's already identified with you.
SM: With those hand-knitted sweaters, I wanted to create knitwear that you could wear as a coat, too. And just be comfy. I'm fascinated by the way clothing can reflect how you feel - how you talk via what you're wearing. Actually, it doesn't happen as much as one would expect.
DH: Steve thought that in the future everyone would be wearing a sort of uniform. A lot of people don't want to make a personal statement - but some do. In the Sixties and the hippy period a lot of girls were making clothes for themselves and their boyfriends. You ended up with loose, flowery, denim, patched-up stuff. I remember the Comme des Garçons collection that was all sewn-together bits of fabric, and how beautiful that was, or Project Alabama now - it overlaps. When you work, do you play a certain kind of music?
SM: I don't listen to music as I get so drawn in. I normally put it on as a reward.
DH: I listen when I'm driving, which I adore. But at home, where I work and write, it tends to seep in to what I'm doing. So I try to be careful about that. I don't want to have any leakage.
SM: Do you have all your old clothes? Do you wear them?
DH: Sometimes, when they fit. Sometimes, when they don't. Actually lately, thank goodness, more of them are fitting. But some I don't think I'll really ever want to wear again - they're really special and I treasure them.
SM: They remind you of moments?
DH: Yeah. It might be fun actually to do that kind of photo things - you know, just pulling out the oldies and sticking one leg in them or something, and thinking, "Oh, my God", and passing out.
SM: It that your dog in the background?
DH: Yeah that's Ki Suki. A Japanese Chin - I've got two.
SM: A loudmouth. She's a loudmouth. Do they go out on those communal dog-walking things with 50 dogs on a lead?
DH: I don't understand how a dog could actually get anything out of a walk like that. What happens when the dog wants to piss? "Please, can we stop while I piss?" And then there's 16 other dogs pulling you down the road.
SM: Do you think they'll print this stuff about piss?
DH: I don't know! This is Vogue, after all!
SM: When you were starting out, who were your icons?
DH: All the ladies of the Sixties were really inspirational to me, like Aretha Franklin or Diana Ross, although my style is nothing like them. But I absolutely adored them and their music. And Dusty Springfield as well - her voice is unique; and Janis Joplin, of course. I was greatly influenced by radio and being in the metropolitan environment. I just got a good taste of everything.
SM: You grew up in New York?
DH: In a North Jersey suburb, and I spent a lot of time in the city.
SM: When were you first aware that you had become an icon?
DH: In the late Eighties, after being out of the loop for a while and then trying to come back. Then I realised that people had this mythical idea about the person I was. I thought, "Hoe preposterous and how absurd."
SM: Did you believe it?
DH: I knew it was real because I'd been influenced by the same thing - it's part of what communication is about. But for me to be in that position, how absurd - but how wonderful at the same time.
SM: When young girls write to me with, "You are my hero. I want to be a fashion designer just like you," it's so weird. Number one, I feel too young to have that kind of responsibility, but also I can remember when I was that little kid. It doesn't feel that long ago when I was writing letters. I think you've probably been important to quite a lot of teenagers.
DH: Teenagers are the ones who are searching.
SM: Teenage boys, Debbie, actually. I think you probably changed quite a lot of boys' lives!
DH: So, what are you up to today besides talking to me?
SM: Assembling the collection - it's relentless.
DH: It's great that you're hooked up with Gucci.
SM: It's pretty grown-up, isn't it? I feel like a little kid going, "Wow!" I'm lucky the way it's all panned out. Fingers crossed, though. I'm not the kind of person that ever feels like I've done it... I've still got quite a lot to prove in my industry.
DH: If you're really interested in what you're doing then you probably never will feel totally that you've done it, you know. You just become better and better and yet you are still challenged. That's the greatest thing about what we do - we just continue growing. Right now, we're just trying to get this damn record out. It's pretty close to finished. We have a great cover - a really beautiful cover by Rob Roth. He's the greatest.
SM: And you've got your red lipstick on?
DH: I'm not on the cover. That's why it's so great! The latest is always the greatest, for me.