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
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
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."