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Liv Tyler in Berlin: on '90s Grunge Style and her Belstaff Line

by Jessica Hannan, Sleek Magazine, November 2016, Photos by Jessica Hannan

SLEEK talks to Liv Tyler about her second line for Belstaff, being a '90s style icon and getting hair tips from her dad

The A-lister is in Berlin to pick up the 'Gentlewoman' award at the GQ "Men of the Year" Awards, as one of Hollywood's sweetest actresses - she recently penned an etiquette guide with her grandmother - this title is more than fitting. She may be the daughter of rock'n'roll royalty Steven Tyler but you get the feeling on meeting Tyler, that her party days are far behind her, or at least on hold for now. "I've just had a baby," explains the 39-year-old, when asked about her wardrobe staples. She continues, "since the birth of my daughter, I've stuck to a uniform of flats, black pants, and a great coat - I've just bought one in beautiful cashmere from Givenchy".

Tyler is talking fashion and not films today, having squeezed in a few hours with the German fashion press to showcase her second capsule line for Brit heritage brand Belstaff. SLEEK has a seat in a group interview in a suite at Berlin's Soho House alongside a flock of the city's flaxen-haired fashion bloggers, who are super keen to find out everything about the actress, from her thoughts on politics, to her fashion archive. On the latter, we learn that Tyler's most treasured pieces in her wardrobe are gifts from the late Lee McQueen. She name checks a
"crazy raven cape with black feathers. I didn't really 'get it' at the time, I think I wore it to a Halloween party, but I appreciate its beauty now".

This is a typical comment from the down-to-earth actress who playfully sends herself up for the eager crowd filming her on their phones. She obligingly answers questions about her father, telling anecdotes about him raiding her closet, and wearing her silk blouses better she ever could. Settling into her armchair, she talks about how her younger self would beg him to wear a classic black suit, and in return, he would critique her minimal make-up and hair, saying,
"he would get me to throw my head over, and shake my hair up so it was all big and '80s".

Belstaff, a brand known for its sumptuous outerwear has made an excellent move in enlisting the help of the movie star. She is glamorous and accessible in equal parts - the sort of friend you would not be afraid to ask style advice from. The second line consists of a soft leather biker which belts at the waist, a Doris Day-approved polka dot pyjama-style two-piece, the perfect black cape and a floral shift-dress and jumpsuit.

On the mood board are ethereal film stills of Tyler in the 1990s film "Stealing Beauty", wearing a chiffon ruffled dress, one of the actress's many cult looks from the decade. Did she know at the time that the infamous mohair-cropped-sweater-and-mini-kilt-combo in "Empire Records", or the spaghetti-strap dress in Aerosmith's video for "Crazy" would live on as inspiration for the Tumblr-generation?
"We had no idea, it was just this whole 'grunge rebellion' thing that was happening at the time" she says, and then adds modestly, "there are lots of people who influenced fashion much more than I did in the '90s".

Question time must to come to a close. Tyler needs to rest before the evening's award ceremony. Despite the glitzy day job, she is still the mother of a tiny baby, and her exhaustion is palpable.

The pack of bloggers get in line for selfies with the star, and Tyler - ever the professional, obliges them sweetly until an efficient publicist springs from the wings and swiftly pulls the plug. SLEEK's photographer still needs to get her polaroid portraits, so grabs her opportunity and leads the actress to the corner of the hotel room. In a few fast flashes of the camera bulb, the tired mother who has been in interviews all day, and probably had a really early flight magically fades away, and Liv Tyler, The Movie Star appears. And then it is all over, and we are out in the hotel hallway before her ghostly image starts to develop on Impossible Instant Film.