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Liv Tyler Talks Fashion and Her All-Time Favourite Books
by Natalie Rigg, AnotherMag, August 11th 2016, Photo by Clare Shilland
What motivates a multifarious talent such as Liv Tyler? Here, the lauded actress tells AnOther about her latest creative endeavours and reveals the reads that inspire her practice
The 'multi-hyphenate actress' moniker is bandied around frequently these days. Yet, in the case of 39-year-old Liv Tyler, it's entirely apt. Her artistic endeavours – which, in no particular order, include acting, producing, singing, writing, directing and modelling – are admirable in both their breadth and scope. And now, having recently collaborated on a capsule collection for the lauded British heritage brand Belstaff, she can willingly add designer to that list too.
"[The line] was made for practicality; using very good quality fabrics that really last," explained the ethereal American beauty. "I've been part of fashion for so long and [have] worked with so many amazing designers who've actually made things on my body, but I've never actually designed a collection like this, so I've learned a whole other side of it," she added.
Inspired by archive imagery of female aviatrixes, including the intrepid Amelia Earhart (who, as fate would have it, favoured Belstaff's signature leather jackets herself), the 12-piece collection seamlessly entwines luxury, form and function with carefully-crafted pieces that are designed to be worn season after season. Parkas with removable shearling lining, fluid pussy-bow blouses and tailored military jackets all feature in Tyler's smart-thinking output, as do lace-up leather ankle boots and an especially versatile black cape that one can imagine Tyler throwing over one of her trademark silk dresses.
"I feel like I need these pieces in my wardrobe, and I hope other people want them too. I just feel so grateful [about] getting the chance to do these things and try them. I'm so excited about the next chapter of my life," she enthused. "In the last couple of years, I've just felt much more excited about following my heart, not being afraid to take risks and make mistakes and try and enjoy as much as I can. I think that sometimes I worry so much about making everything perfect but it's not really about doing that – it's just about doing it and seeing what happens."
As the Liv Tyler X Belstaff collection hits stores around the world, she sheds light on the reads that have helped shape her diverse practice, including a book she recently penned with her grandmother, Dorothea Johnson.
1. Ask the Dust, by John Fonte "I love this book. My best friend Victoria gave it to me when I was 18. I still have the same copy, I take it with me everywhere, on all my travels and it is very worn in. I love John Fonte's style of writing, so simple, yet so profound all at once. I love the way Arturo Bandini sees the world, how he describes what he sees and truly feels. I just think it's brilliant. When I read it, I often find myself reading a sentence or thought and loving it so much I have to go back and read it again. I'm not sure exactly why or how but it truly touched me and continues to inspire me."
2. Edith's Diary, by Patricia Highsmith "I'm reading this right now and am fascinated with the character. She is so deeply disappointed, angry and lonely in her life, marriage and family that she starts keeping a diary of a completely different life – a life filled with colour and fulfillment. It is wild to live both lives with her. Both the one she is imagining and writing about each day, and then the real life that she is enduring and living."
3. Oh, the Places You'll Go!, by Dr. Seuss "This is one of my favourite books of all time. It is technically a children's book but it feels like it was written for all, big and small. It is about the ups and downs in life, the wonderful and horrible and how to navigate your way through it all with humour and grace. How to follow your heart, learn from your mistakes and always keep moving along. Every time I read this book to my children I am blown away by how much it speaks to me at every stage of my life and how grateful I am to Dr. Seuss for writing it."
4. Modern Manners, by Dorothea Johnson and Liv Tyler "This is a book I wrote with my grandmother a couple years ago. But really, it is a book of all my grandmother's secrets to success and elegance. She has been an etiquette expert for many years and has taught me so much. There are many great tips about how to conduct yourself in the world and workplace but more than that, it really gives great examples of how taking the time to treat people with kindness and thoughtfulness is so valuable and makes such a difference in how people in the world treat you and see you. It's a great read, because you can just pick it up at anytime, open it to any page and learn something great."
5. The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta "I've been working on The Leftovers TV show for HBO for the past three years which is based on Tom's novel. I love this book. It is an incredible character study. There are so many complicated and emotionally rich characters here. He describes each one of them with so much detail and love. He takes you deep inside their inner workings and feelings. You see the way they are seen in the world and what is really going on with them inside. It's incredible to have something like this to inspire and refer to while creating a character."