by Florence Tredez, ELLE Canada, May 2011. Photos by Emanuele Scorcelletti. Scans by Rianon.
Actress, model and mother Liv Tyler continues her seven-year reign as Givenchy's charismatic muse.
Liv Tyler is shooting her latest campaign for Very Irrésistible Givenchy L'Intense on the roof of the Four Seasons George V Paris. Her sheer black dress flutters in the wind; the Eiffel Tower completes the moody skyline backdrop. With her striking blue eyes and wind-tossed hair, Tyler comes off as an ethereal, sublime goddess at work—until she cheerfully quips that she's wearing her "pyjamas" (a pair of her own extra-long leggings and a satin top) underneath. Comfort and glamour? Obviously a girl after our own hearts.
When it comes to fashion, Tyler is just as endearingly contradictory behind the scenes. She's a girl who knows what suits her (during the photo shoot, she was very comfortable making her own selections from the stylist's rails and nixed anything white), but her love of clothes doesn't necessarily equal that of a shopaholic. "I haven't stopped wearing my black Lanvin ballerinas for five years," she admits, "and I've had the same bag for the last eight months."
Tyler pairs a military-style jacket from the rack ("I'm really into jackets at the moment") with some Topshop boots her father gave her. How does she define her personal style? "I wear a lot of dresses because I like more feminine styles and I have curves. But recently I've been trying to wear more structured pieces with simple, bold lines. I'm a big fan of Riccardo Tisci, Lanvin and my friend Stella McCartney."
Onscreen, the daughter of '70s model-singer Bebe Buell and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler has never stopped exploring the many facets of her acting range—from playing the romantic and naive Lucy in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty to the poised and delicate elf princess in The Lord of the Rings to the thick-skinned single mom in Steve Buscemi's Lonesome Jim.
In her two latest films—Super, a comedy with Ellen Page (Juno), and The Ledge—Tyler plays troubled women. "Unfortunately, my role as a junkie [in Super] is not at all comic," she says. "In life, my friends know that I'm silly and I like to joke around, but onscreen I'm always offered quite serious roles that arouse strong emotions in the audience."
Tyler has a career that goes from strength to strength, so it's interesting to note that she made a decision to fully retire from the public eye in 2008. "Before those two years, I worked a lot," she says. "The Incredible Hulk and The Strangers came out, and I went through a lot of personal stuff. [Tyler divorced rocker husband Royston Langdon, the father of her son, Milo.] It took a while to get over it—to feel better and reassure myself that Milo, too, was okay."
Did she discover a proven method to heal a broken heart? And if so, can she fill us in? Tyler laughs. "No!" she says. "I only know that after my own experience, and having observed my parents, when something unexpected—something tough—comes up in life and changes everything, it's better to confront it that bury your head in the sand. If not, it will inevitably come back and hit you square in the face like a boomerang. That's why my instincts told me that it would be best to take a break and sort everything that needed sorting."
Tyler's mature attitude can partially be attributed to the amount of time that the 33-year-old has logged in front of the camera. "It is incredible to think that I've been in the industry for 20 years!" she exclaims. It's all thanks to supermodel Paulina Porizkova, who started out as a photographer and sent shots that she took of a teenage Tyler to Interview magazine, which printed them. A Seventeen magazine cover for Tyler soon followed, as did numerous modelling jobs, before she made the move into acting.
Is Tyler as shrewd with her career tactics as she is with making confident selections from a rack of designer clothing at a photo shoot? How much does she strategize? "I don't try to plan my career," she says. "I had a lot of success very young, and I have always kept in mind the need to, first and foremost, try to create a balance between my work and my private life—to take the time to live a normal existence and grow at my own pace. I have seen too many people get their fingers burned from having too much success too young and too fast and then later find themselves with nothing."
The original scans (click to enralge):