Liv Tyler on motherhood and her new fashion collection for Belstaff
It's rare to meet an actress as open and warm as Liv Tyler. She's welcoming; in fact, our interview took place in her hotel room early on a Sunday morning, while she was having her make-up applied – something most Hollywood actresses would keep away from public eyes. There's a disarming candour to how she talks; she doesn't try and dress anything up, or gush about subjects the way her peers might. She is elegant in every sense of the word.
Having recently given birth to her third child, two-month-old Lula, she is refreshingly frank about the difficulties in dealing with the inevitable way a woman's figure evolves.
"Your whole body changes completely, which is a bit bananas," she says. "It's a big transformation. Pregnancy dressing is really fun because you can celebrate this full, rich body, which is not always celebrated in fashion.
"The after part is not so fun – you go from being this blooming, radiant, beautiful creature to just being a little bit chubby," she laughs. "The first couple of months after are really intense because you realise you grew a human inside you. It does deplete you all you've got. This moment is interesting and quite vulnerable. You're adjusting to the baby and re-entering back in the real world. Your clothes don't fit yet; it's [a] transitional period. I can't wait to get back into my skinny jeans and it seems like that time will never come, but it's definitely just around the corner. You just have to be patient and focus on the healthy part of it and taking good care of yourself."
Liv Tyler presents her latest resort collection for Belstaff
Tyler started her career as a teenage model and had her breakthrough in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1996 film Stealing Beauty. However, as everyone knows, Tyler was born into fame: her father is the Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler and her mother is Bebe Buell, a wild-child singer who was apparently the inspiration for Kate Hudson's character in Almost Famous.
Tyler credits her mother for having instilled confidence that has always made her feel happy in her own skin. "She always told me I was beautiful, even when I was chubby with braces," she laughs. "She made me feel special; that I could always speak my mind and that I could do anything I wanted to – she encouraged that. My grandmother did the same, so I had a lot of strong women in my life who I learnt so much from, who always made me feel like I could do anything when I put my mind to it. And I think that's true – that when I really focus on anything with my whole heart that you can accomplish anything. We all have our own fears, but if you put all that away and just focus, I think that really you can do anything you put your mind to."
Aside from parenting, acting (she's just finished filming the latest series of HBO's The Leftovers in Australia), Tyler's focus is on her latest collection for Belstaff. As fashion inspirations go, you don't get much more exciting than Katharine Hepburn meets Stealing Beauty – the actress' references for her new resort range, which features leather jackets, cropped high-waisted jeans, striped jumpers, suede A-line skirts and floral blouses.
The offering lands in stores in November, although her debut for the brand is out now.
"The polka-dot blouse and trousers were inspired by a photo of Katharine Hepburn, who is the perfect combination of beautiful and handsome," she explained. "The overall mood is rock 'n' roll Anita Pallenberg and the English countryside in the 1960s, then a little bit of Stealing Beauty. Delphine [Ninous, the womenswear collection's creative director] wanted to call it a 'Country Ride', which had elements of being in the country and being very feminine, but with an adventurous twist. We both wanted to do a floral print and at first it was going to be a dress, but the more I thought about it the more I thought, 'I don't want to wear a dress'. I want to be able to get on that motorcycle, drive that car – so that's why we went with the trousers."
While many celebrities put their name to a fashion collection without being very hands-on, Tyler is the opposite. Her work with Belstaff is a very personal project. "I'd call myself a tomboy, but I don't have the body or face of a one at all – I'm very female-looking," she says. "But I grew up in Maine like a bit of a wild animal, running around barefoot in nature, so that's in my heart. So I love that side of Belstaff – of adventure and the unknown, being able to go out and get dirty a little bit – and, also, to play. I love that it's not couture or high fashion; I like that it's real, that it's functional."