Liv Tyler on Belstaff, Style and Selling Out on Social Media
The 'Leftovers' actress, who showed her second Belstaff collection at London Fashion Week, reminisced about the pre-social media era: "There was a lot more freedom and less judgment.”
In a spacious suite at London’s elegant Rosewood Hotel on Sunday afternoon, the actress Liv Tyler, outfitted smartly but comfortably in black trousers, Chloe ballet flats and a dark floral bomber, spoke admiringly of Katharine Hepburn. “She just doesn’t give a f--k, she’s just like kind of one of those guys who happens to be one of the most beautiful women ever in the whole world.”
Hepburn, Tyler went on to explain, was a key reference for her second design collaboration with the 92-year-old British outerwear specialist Belstaff, set to make its press debut at a London Fashion Week event a few hours later. The star of HBO’s The Leftovers, who just gave birth to her third child, stood before three mannequins attired in looks from the collection, which centers on classic, easy-to-wear separates largely inspired by Tyler’s own wardrobe — as well as what’s missing from it. That included a cropped navy jacket with gold buttons that Tyler said she “always wanted the perfect one of,” a trench coat that, cut single- rather than double-breasted, would particularly flatter her figure, and a black leather biker jacket “that is a little bit cropped and soft — as a woman, sometimes leather can be so hard and stiff.”
MOTO-CHIC: Looks from Liv Tyler's Belstaff capsule collection. (Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images)
Working alongside Delphine Ninous, creative director of Belstaff Collection, Tyler said she brought in pieces of her own wardrobe and described how she’d like to modify them, looking also to Belstaff’s archives. She even sketched a little. “I’m a terrible drawer, but [Ninous] was so kind to me,” she said.
Tyler came to work with Belstaff through her fiancé, Dave Gardner, a great friend of Belstaff ambassador David Beckham. “Basically they were making a little short film [with Beckham early last year] and I was around all of the time, and everyone would ask me questions about the script,” she recalled. “I think as a kind of joke they asked me if I wanted to executive produce it…and I loved it, I really got the producer bug.” When Belstaff was hunting for a women’s spokesmodel not long after, the brand came knocking on Tyler’s door. “I said, can I design a capsule collection, because I would love to do that, always with the intention that I wouldn’t just be modeling.”
Tyler said that she and Ninous put the first collection together, which is just now hitting stores, “literally in a week.” For the first go-around “it was more about creating pieces, it wasn’t really cohesive — there was just one look with a trouser and a blouse and a few different coats that could go with it,” she explained. “So this time we started from the inside out a little bit more, because it was spring/summer and we had the chance to create not only the outer pieces but kind of a whole look.”
THE LADIES HAVE IT: Looks from Liv Tyler's Belstaff capsule collection. (Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images)
Tyler said that she has “never been that interested in trends,” but that she is more conscious of what she wears these days. “In my 20s I didn’t think about [getting dressed] so much, because there was no such thing as social media and paparazzi and we were all much more free, we could kind of just throw anything on,” she recalled with nostalgia. “In the '90s, Julia Roberts would go to a premiere in a pair of jeans and no hair and makeup, and Cher would wear all those crazy amazing over-the-top outfits. There was a lot more freedom and less judgment.”
When asked whether she personally felt compelled to participate in social media, given its emphasis in Hollywood as a marketing vehicle, Tyler was frank. “I know that people who have more followers tend to get more jobs than people that don’t,” she admitted. “But some of the most elegant people I know and love would never dream of doing it, some people sort of transcend it.”
“I don’t like to feel like I have to sell things on it,” she added. “I mean, you do have to do those things to some extent, but some people, that’s all they’re doing, selling things.” While a third party runs her Twitter account — “I’ve never done a tweet in my life” — she operates her own Instagram. “I personally have always really loved to take pictures — if I didn’t do what I did I’d love to be a photographer. In that way it’s a really nice platform to be able to talk about the things that are important to me, or just to show the visuals of the way I see the world.”
Tyler’s second capsule collection with Belstaff, which includes ready-to-wear and accessories, will arrive in stores for the spring/summer 2017 season.