Clockwise from top left: Harry, Albertine, Sioux, Black, Styrene and Hynde in 1980 (GETTY)
In 1980, during a tour with Blondie, Debbie Harry hosted a tea party at a London hotel, gathering together many of the women prominent in music at the time. Chrissie Hynde was there; Siouxsie Sioux; the Slits guitarist Viv Albertine; Pauline Black from The Selecter; and Poly Styrene
from X-Ray Spex. Chris Stein, Harry’s boyfriend at the time as well as
the other half of Blondie’s creative core, published pictures of it in
his recent book Negative, a collection of his photographs from the early
years of their fame.
It looks as though there was a lot of laughter. This was a different time for women in music. Two years earlier Kate Bush,
who was invited to tea but didn’t make it, had become the first female
solo performer to reach number one in the British charts with her own
song (Wuthering Heights).
There was a
widespread assumption that there was room for just one main female
performer in each genre. If another appeared, they were expected to
battle it out for the title of queen of pop/soul/disco/punk.
Harry was keen to cut through that. “I really wanted to get together with all the punk females for an afternoon of celebration,” she
explains. “It’s a great memory.” If you did that today, I say, you would
need more than a hotel room. “I would need a hall!” she says, laughing.
“It has changed a lot. It’s really grown, hasn’t it?”
So my PTA AU OC, Debbie, is basically the living incarnation of the Kermit the Frog drinking Lipton Tea meme. Instead of Lipton Tea, however, Debbie drinks vodka that she conceals within a water bottle. She dislikes Linda, but she would rather sit on the sidelines and watch as Linda brings about her own downfall. Occasionally, after a particularly stressful meeting, she will go up to Sans and try to offer him some alcohol from her Giant Mom Purse Of Doom.
Her daughter, Cassie, idolizes Darth Vader and can often be seen running around with a red lightsaber. Debbie managed to convince her to not hit her fellow classmates with the lightsaber, and instead go after the random Minion cardboard cut-outs that somebody placed all around the halls.
What does it mean to be a woman in a man’s world? In collaboration with luxury retail conglomerate Club21 and in celebration of new COMME des GARÇONS Singapore store, this edition of WERK explores the timeless and timely topic of modern gender identity.
A roster of 9 unique and independent women (including Julie Verhoeven, Agathe de Bailliencourt, Juli Balla and Debbie Tea) contributes via contemplative musings, arresting photos and one-of-a-kind artwork to develop this issue of WERK into a beautifully-crafted treatise on women. The current issue’s patchwork exterior is lovingly “graffitti-ed” and pieced together by hand.
We’re so psyched to be able to get our hands on the first 100 copies, fresh out from the press. The handwork behind these layerings of textures and colours are so labour intensive! Kudos to the incredible team behind WORK Advertising!