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Very Irresistible Tyler

Telegraph.co.uk, August 2003

Actress Liv Tyler is re-enacting one of Audrey Hepburn's most famous roles - as the face of Givenchy. Jenni Baden Howard reports

As a young girl, Liv Tyler used to sneak into a friend's bathroom and steal spritzes of her mother's perfume, Ysatis by Givenchy. An Eighties classic, it was the first fragrance that she bought. Twenty years later, the actress and rock princess (her father is Steve Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith) has been chosen as the face of Givenchy's latest scent.

Dream come true: 'I have always been a big admirer of Audrey Hepburn' - Liv Tyler
Dream come true: 'I have always been a big
admirer of Audrey Hepburn' - Liv Tyler

More than just a happy coincidence, Givenchy's casting decision is a canny one. Arriving on counters this week, Very Irresistible Givenchy launches with an advertising campaign inspired by the collaboration between the house's founder, Hubert de Givenchy, and his close friend, Audrey Hepburn. The designer credited his film star muse with introducing him to America, after Hepburn wore what she called his "divine gowns" in films such as Sabrina Fair and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The advertisements for Very Irresistible Givenchy are photographed by Mario Testino and feature Tyler wearing a selection of pieces from the autumn/winter 2003 haute couture collection. The black and white television commercial - which airs next month - was filmed in Paris.

Although it includes a lot of Hepburn-style touches (Fifties chignons, shades and headscarves), Tyler remains very much herself. "It was of one of the most fun shoots of my life. We had a blast, and they captured it all on film," says the 26-year-old, whose film credits include Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty and The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Tyler describes herself as "a bit of a beauty product whore - I'll try anything, but I always go back to my favourites". She lives in New York with her husband, Royston Langdon, the lead singer of the British band Spacehog. "I am a huge fan of the classic fashion houses and my favourite clothes and accessories are vintage, so going to Paris to work with Givenchy was a dream come true. To be approached was a privilege. Accepting was a no-brainer."

As well as representing Very Irresistible Givenchy, Tyler will be the face of its make-up range in 2004. "As someone whom people admire yet can relate to, Liv encapsulates the spirit of Givenchy," says David Titheridge, the British managing director of Parfums Givenchy. "Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy set a precedent of elegance, spontaneity and sensuality, and our association with Liv will help to ensure this mood lives on."

Tyler says such comparisons are "overwhelming, beyond flattering". "I have always been a big admirer of Audrey Hepburn. She was truly inspiring, and always so herself," she says. "Her charm was that she was so real, and never afraid to speak for herself. And she used her power and time in such a positive way, by doing so much work for others."

Although the new Givenchy fragrance pays homage to the Hubert de Givenchy/Hepburn legacy, it is not intended to replace L'Interdit, the enduringly popular fragrance that the designer created for Hepburn. Today, the rose-based "juice" (Givenchy and Hepburn both adored roses) remains almost the same, although it was made a little more sheer last year.

Fittingly, Very Irresistible Givenchy is also full of roses (Peony, Fantasia, Passion, Emotion and Centifolia, among others). It is elegant, sexy and makes a statement, but in the most subtle way - something that came as a relief to Tyler. "My first impression was, 'Thank goodness, it smells good!'," she says. "I like discreet, subtle fragrances. I always wear just a hint - a little dab on my neck, wrists, belly button and ankles."

Tyler applies the same, less-is-more rule to the rest of her beauty routine. "I love natural products. I like my skin to feel fresh and clean - it's impossible for me to go to bed without having washed my face. I cleanse my skin every morning and evening, use a moisturiser, and that's it. I also drink a lot of water."

Her beauty essentials include lip balm and a bold lipstick that doubles as a creamy blush. Her favourite shade of lipstick is bright pink - the colour of the Very Irresistible Givenchy box and bottle (her husband recently gave her a bright pink bike, which she rides regularly to relax). Movie stars aside, Tyler's beauty role model is her yoga-loving, 70-year-old grandmother. "She's still in great shape. She takes care of her skin and body, and gives me lots of beauty tips."