Home -> Articles -> Liv Tyler Talks Fashion
Collective soul

by Elizabeth Wallace, Vogue Hollywood, June 1999.

Actor Liv Tyler feeds her chameleonlike fashion persona with frequent shopping fixes. Elizabeth Wallace gets a look at her loot.

Liv Tyler is a collector. Of shoes, scarves, hats, accessories, and gadgets. "I have a million pairs of beautiful shoes, and I never wear them-ever!" the 21-year-old actor says. "As a matter of fact, I've worn the same pair of Prada shoes, these open-backed ones with a plastic platform bottom for years." She almost never wears her stilettos, she says, because of "too many disasters."

Like the night a few years back in Prague, where she was making a film and dressed up for the wrap party. "I wore these amazing Doloe & Gabbana high heels that were black velvet with white flowers, and we had to walk to the party, and by the time we got there, I wanted my friends to carry me." Since Armageddon, Tyler has filmed three movies back-to-back. In Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Tyler plays a rebellious girl in conflict with her mother (Julianne Moore) and aunt (Glenn Close). In Plunkett & MaCleane, directed by Jake Scott (Ridley's son), Tyler plays a 'very corseted' eighteenth-century aristocrat. In Onegin, directed by Martha Fiennes (Ralph and Joseph's sister), which is based on Pushkin's novel and set in 1830s Russia, Tyler costars with Ralph Fiennes and Martin Donovan as a young woman who marries a prince and wears 'elaborate gowns'.

Now she's taking a break - giving herself time to indulge her shopping habit. "I'm definitely a little bit of a Shopaholic," she admits over lunch at Greenwich Village's Grange Hall, lighting a cigarette with her Japanese gadget lighter - a plastic baby chicken dressed in a space suit with a helmet. "Not in an unhealthy way, but I love clothes and I love things like shawls and hats, and I like having really different, quirky, funny pieces. I'm really drawn to things like a little headband or sweet shoes or a shawl." On a recent Armageddon press tour to Tokyo. Tyler visited one shop (where she got the lighter) and took away two bags full of gadgets and toys for her friends.

In London, Tyler always stops into Voyage, The Cross, and Virginia, an "amazing secondhand shop" nearby. "You walk in, and it's like a girl's dream: It's like a whorehouse with big feathers, fans, and amazing gowns," she says. "Beautiful silks and chiffons and layers and beautiful piano scarves. I collect piano scarves."

When she's Stateside on the West Coast, it's the Beverly Hills vintage shop Lily, where "everything's in mint condition. Things that movie stars wore - very beautiful, all perfect. I got the most amazing twenties green beaded dress, like a perfect flapper dress, and it looks like the ocean. It's unbelievable. I keep it in a little box; I haven't worn it yet."

At home in New York. Tyler is faithful to Marc Jacobs for basics (his charcoal - gray floor-length wool overcoat is her winter favorite), and to Prada, Miu Min, and Dolce Gabbana for shoes. She calls her gold-sequined, wallet-size Miu Miu purse "the most practical thing in the world. It holds everything!" Tyler also frequents Nolita boutiques like Zero, where she picked up her "dream pair of comfort pants" - drawstring-ribbon-waisted - in both gray and black.

Tyler's downtown Manhattan apartment is a museum of her collectibles. "I have a lot of stuff I never wear, that I just admire." she says. "I collect beautiful vintage dresses, and get them all over the world, but I don't even really wear them often, because I'm more comfortable in pants."

While Tyler has trouble defining 'style' ("it's just something that someone has or doesn't have"), she knows how to project her own-even as she changes her look on a daily basis. Today she's in a three-quarter-sleeve black sweater and tailored gray pants. She doesn't remember who designed the top or pants, having ripped out the tags, as she does with all of her clothes ("they're scratchy"). She livens up the look with Paul Smith floral socks, Red or Dead blue-and-white suede sneakers from London, and a brown vintage headband in her short-cropped brown hair.

As at-ease as she is with her own style, Tyler still gets uncomfortable about public appearances. That's where help from designers comes in. "Dolce and Gabbana have been so incredibly kind to me. They've made me things in a week, flown them to Cannes, and sent a fitter, so everything fits me perfectly, and then they'll give me the clothes. That's such a generous gesture."

The generosity flows for Tyler. Like when she attended December's Costume Institute benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pamela Dennis made me this dress in one day," she says, refer- ring to her black fitted floor-length gown with a train and a tulle shawl. "I went in in the morning and they were pinning me in, and then Pamela came over that night. She laid my shoes by my bed, laid the shawl out-it was so beautiful of her. She didn't go home until 7:30, and she had to be at the museum at eight." Fred Leighton added diamonds to complete the look.

And how did the night turn out? Fine, once she got through her entrance. "I had to walk up all those steps at the Met," she explains. And the paparazzi were "all screaming, and I started tripping on my train a little, and my heart always pounds and my knees sort of shake. I'm fine once I get inside, but it's just that moment of . . . how to please everyone, and then having to think about how you're standing or smiling. It's really silly. I think we should all go in our pajamas."

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