August 22 2014

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7 posts tagged "Ray-Ban"

Blondie Talks Revisiting the Hits, the New New York, and Turning 40


Debbie Harry and Blondie

It’s been a hell of a week for Blondie. On Tuesday, the CBGB trailblazers released a two-disc set, Blondie 4(0) Ever, featuring rerecorded versions of some of their biggest hits, and Ghosts of Download, an album of decidedly dance-y new tracks that appear (from a cursory glance) to share more DNA with EDM than a band celebrating its 40th year of existence. Then again, Blondie’s unapologetic pop sensibility has always been one of their distinguishing characteristics, with disco-hued hits like “Heart of Glass” paving the way for significant commercial success. In between talk show cameos, the band geared up for an intimate show at Ray-Ban’s District 1937 fete on Thursday night. With help from Blondie and alt-duo MS MR, the eyewear brand feted the global launch of quintessential Ray-Ban styles in a new range of materials (leather, velvet, steel, denim, and titanium). Not long ago, Ray-Ban celebrated a big birthday of its own (75 years), so a downtown-cool turnout in the Garment District made for a belated bash of sorts. Shortly before they took the stage, we sat down with Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Clem Burke to talk Harajuku heavy metal and the new New York.

Forty years down the line, how has your studio dynamic changed? Does it feel different making a record today than it did back then?

Debbie Harry: It’s different for everyone because of the technology and the ability to work…you don’t need a big live room to make a good-sounding record. It’s nice to have a big room and put everybody in there, but we sort of always start with the demo tracks that Chris comes up with and build on that. This time we worked all over the place. It was mostly done online. And then at the very end we have some live stuff on it.

You’ve got a pretty eclectic crew who worked on this record with you [including Hector Fonseca, Beth Ditto, and Las Rakas]. How did this group come together? Were they people you were all fans of?

DH: Pretty much. Well, we didn’t meet Hector Fonseca until we were in the studio. And the backup singers, they were just hanging around the studio and we met them and they sounded great. I guess once you’re in the process, you’re in the process and things are happening. You look around, you hear things, you talk to people. And then it just evolves. We don’t really start with a strict formula, and I think that that’s true all the way to the basics of when Chris is writing a song or creating a melody or a feel, he goes in with an open mind and just fiddles around.

You rerecorded eleven of your best-known tracks. What is it like to revisit those? Do you find new meaning when you go to record something that you’ve played hundreds of times?

DH: Hearing some of the vocal flourishes I was doing back then, they’re more or less kind of a studio representation—because it’s easier to hear, you just have more control. Some of those things I let go by the wayside. But the basic elements of the songs are all there. When I was listening to the old tracks, it was nice to hear some of the musicians that we had playing on the tracks, like Tom Scott—

Chris Stein: The guy who plays the Taxi Driver saxophone plays the horns on “Rapture.”

DH: That’s a real nice revisit.

Do you think that your relationship between rock and fashion has changed since you started out?

DH: I’m amazed. I love clothes. I don’t think that I’m fashionable—I think that sometimes I manage to pull it off. I definitely have a punk attitude about it, and I like the notion of deconstruction and shabby chic—I don’t know if that’s really fashion.

When you were getting ready to go to a show at CBGBs, did a lot of thought go into those outfits, or was it more off-the-cuff?

DH: I don’t know. I just tried to look hot. I couldn’t go out and buy something every time. We did a lot of thrift shopping, and there were all these bums—we called them bum stores—on the Bowery, and we used to just go in there and weed around. All kinds of things. And people would give us stuff. Things got passed around.

Clem Burke: We traded clothes a lot. One time I went to England and I overpacked and these two took me to the airport and so I had to take all my clothes out, and I came back, like, two months later and everybody’s wearing my clothes. I’m like, “What’s going on? Where are my clothes?” She’s wearing it on stage!

Can I ask what you thought of the CBGB film that came out recently?

CB: I thought it was a great portrayal of Hilly [Kristal, owner of CBGB & OMFUG]. I don’t think it necessarily invoked the real scene that was going on at the time, but I think it was a good tribute to the man. If they do a movie of [Patti Smith's memoir] Just Kids, it’ll be a lot better.

Are you at all melancholy about the ways in which New York has changed, that it’s no longer a place that’s particularly hospitable to the creative classes?

CS: There’s obviously a whole generation of kids who are just figuring out how to make enough money to live here, so it’s just a different paradigm really.

DH: I think the thing that makes me saddest is the people that I came up with that I would really love to see maybe are gone, or they’re not here anymore, so that sort of makes me sad. And I had a lot of freedom then, being unknown. I was anonymous and I was a fly on the wall.

CS: The argument is going to sound a little egotistical, the “everybody is a hipster” argument. Because when we were doing what we did then, we were isolated and we were on the fringe. It was weird, you were weird. And now it’s the norm. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I can’t tell which is preferable.

DH: I mean, look, there’s so much good music coming out of today’s young bands, it can’t be bad. There’s great stuff.

Ray-Ban Celebrates District 1937 Featuring Blondie and MS MR - Inside
What newer bands are you guys excited about?

CB: I like The Stripes. Those kids are great.

DH: Blood Orange.

CS: I just heard this great song by a guy called the Twin Peaks Dudes. Great tracks.

DH: I’m the worst person to ask that question because my mind always goes blank…Deadmau5!

CS: There’s this Japanese girl trio who do heavy metal music in Harajuku outfits, and it’s really cool. Called Babymetal.

There are a lot of EDM and dance influences on the new record. Is that music that you had been listening to and enjoying?

CS: I don’t think you have to have a guitar to indicate aggression, or whatever the hell it’s indicating for the purist rock people who all want to hear guitars. I don’t think it has to be that way. It can be fuckin’ Beethoven, too—that is really powerful. We did a show right around the time of Apocalypse Now. I thought, OK, let’s have them play [Wagner's] “Flight of the Valkyries” before we come out. And we sounded like Mickey Mouse compared to that.

You’ve got a show tonight. What are your pre-gig rituals?

CB: I like to go to sleep and forget the fucking sound check.

DH: Yeah.

CB: This is a one-off show, so it’s a little different. I think when we’re on tour and we’re rolling, we just kind of go into the venue and sound check. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, but we’ve been doing a week of promotion, so…

CS: Yeah, we had to get up at 4 in the morning three days ago to do Good Morning America. It really screwed me up for the rest of the week, I gotta say.

Photo: Corbis; Ray Ban

Fashion Over Function: Why Wearable Tech Is the Worst


Google GlassNews broke yesterday morning that Google has enlisted Luxottica—the company that crafts eyewear for such brands as Prada, Ray-Ban, Chanel, Versace, and beyond—to make Google Glass less hideous. That’s all good and fine—at least the Internet giant is placing an appropriate amount of importance on aesthetics. But I have to be honest: I am deeply tired of hearing about, writing about, and thinking about wearable tech. I have no desire to be hooked up to a device all day. The nonstop e-mail-induced vibrating of my iPhone already gives me heart palpitations, and I don’t need my rings, bracelets, and specs incessantly nagging me, too.

Considering Apple’s recent hires—Saint Laurent’s former CEO of special projects Paul Deneve and Burberry’s former CEO Angela Ahrendts—and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s partnership with Intel, wearable tech is no doubt about to explode. And it has the potential to generate big business among Millennials who are lost without their tablets, smartphones, and various other gadgets. I’m just not interested in participating in this particular big bang.

That’s not to say that wearable tech isn’t impressive from, well, you know, a tech standpoint. I find it mind-boggling that a Nike Fuel Band has the capacity to track your steps and calories burned, and then spit that information out into the World Wide Web. However, I’m unsure why the world (or the NSA, for that matter) needs to know your, or my, workout routine. Nor do I enjoy being bombarded on Facebook by everyone’s “humble brags” about how many miles they ran today. I’ve unfriended people for less. But I digress.

As someone who has dedicated my life to fashion, I refuse to compromise on the appearance of a garment or accessory. I’d much prefer to spend my wages on a decadent pair of low-tech vintage sunnies than on a mediocre style with Wi-Fi.

Furthermore, when is enough tech enough? Despite the fact that it doubles as my career, fashion is my escape—and I think a lot of people feel that way. When I slip on a new dress or place my favorite hat upon my head, I get butterflies in my stomach. All my troubles dissolve (if only for an instant), and it’s as though I’ve been transported to my own personal sartorial oasis. Why on earth would I trade in those moments of bliss for a flashing frock with 4G capabilities?

And what’s so great about being connected all the time, anyway? Forever burned in my mind is an election party I attended in 2012. The invitees were educated, opinionated, entertaining, and dynamic, but for a good portion of the evening, I had to check their Twitter feeds in order to get their thoughts on the polls. What could have been a riveting few hours of discussion was diminished to a silent, nonstop tweet-fest. While I sat there with my iPhone tucked in my handbag (my mother always told me that it was rude to stare at one’s phone in social situations because it makes your company feel as though they’re not important), mumbling to myself, all I could think was, What a waste. Can you imagine how much worse this will become if we’re not required to take the extra step of reaching into our pockets to tweet, Instagram, e-mail, Facebook, etc.? If the Internet is latched onto our wrists or eyes, will we even speak to each other anymore?

Perhaps I’m a Luddite. And you know what? I’m OK with that. I’d prefer to be stuck in the last century than to look and live like some kind of Star Trekkian android.

Even so, I wish nothing but the best of luck to Google and Luxottica in making high-fashion face computers.


Shop the Look: La Vie En Rose


Shop the Look: Pink Neiman Marcus

In case you missed it, pink is having a major moment this year. We fell in love with the bold pops of fuchsia at Alexander Wang, Thakoon, and dozens more Fall ’14 shows, and off the runway, we lost track of how many girls sported pastel pink coats and rosy accessories. In our book, pink looks pretty all year round. This spring, we’ll be wearing the hue head-to-toe for a sweet-meets-sophisticated look—e.g., a bubblegum jumpsuit with patent kitten heels—or in small doses with a flushed lip or translucent sunnies. Shop our favorite pink pieces from Valentino, Ray-Ban, Catherine Malandrino, and more, below.


1. Catherine Malandrino Favorites Strapless Silk Jumpsuit, $425, available at

2. Ray-Ban Ice Pop Sunglasses in Pink, $160, available at

3. Sisley Paris Phyto-Lip Twist in Baby, $50, available at

4. Oscar de la Renta Bold Pear-Shaped Drop Clip-On Earrings in Sorbet, $295, available at

5. Valentino Rockstud Patent Low-Heel Slingback in Pink, $945, available at

Photos: Courtesy of Neiman Marcus


Shop the Look: High Tide


Shop the Look: High Tide

Between Chloé’s surfboard-ankle-strap sandals, M Missoni‘s ode to Venice Beach, and the aquatic-inspired athletic wear at Hervé Léger, surfing was certainly the sport of choice at the recent Resort ’14 presentations. If you’re planning on catching some waves this summer, why not do so in style? Shop our chic yet practical surfing picks from Lisa Marie Fernandez, Chanel, Missoni, and more, below.

1. Missoni towel, $230, available at

2. Lichtenstein water bottle, $28, available exclusively at

3. Chanel surfboard, price upon request, available at

4. Lisa Marie Fernandez swimsuit, $430, available at

5. Ray-Ban Wayfarer, $155, available at

R.I.P. Nora Ephron, And More Of Today’s Top Stories


Essayist and humorist Nora Ephron (pictured, above), considered one of her era’s most successful screenwriters and filmmakers, passed away last night at 71 years old. Ephron, famous for comedy hits Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, had pneumonia caused by acute myeloid leukemia. [NYT]

Louis Vuitton is not the only one on a high-fashion jewelry kick. Versace has announced the launch of an Atelier jewelry collection this Sunday at the Italian brand’s Couture show in Paris. The range includes 16 hand-sculpted rings made of precious stones from diamonds to sapphires. “As a designer and collector of fine jewelry, I have always wanted to offer the same quality of craftsmanship in jewelry as we offer with the Atelier Versace fashion collection,” said Donatella Versace. [WWD]

It sure pays to have designer friends. Newlywed Margherita Missoni made her first outing as a married woman at the Missoni menswear show in Milan, carrying a transparent, pearlized bag by Paco Rabanne. The bag was a gift from the designer, who crafted the piece just for Missoni. [Vogue U.K.]

To mark the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, the pop icon’s brothers Tito and Jackie Jackson threw a dinner for 25 people on the Upper East Side Monday night before continuing the evening at the Apollo Theatre, where they rehearsed for their sold-out gig tomorrow with brothers Jermaine and Marlon. Downtown, the toast continued with the fourth annual Remember the Time Michael Jackson Tribute Party hosted by Andre Harrell and Richie Akiva. [Page Six]

Ray-Ban is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its classic Aviator sunglasses with a limited-edition collection of the style. Two iconic versions, the Shooter and the Outsdoorsman, have been redesigned with photo-chromatic yellow lenses that get darker as the sun gets brighter. There have only been 18,000 pairs produced worldwide. The specs will be sold at select Ray-Ban stores. [The Hollywood Reporter]




Photo: Warner Brothers, via Everett Collection