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Liv and let liv

by Jane Rocca, theage.com.au, December 8th, 2003.

There's an ethereal beauty about Liv Tyler that goes way beyond her acting and those voluptuous lips.

The 26-year-old daughter of rock star Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, made a name for herself in many films before taking on the role of Arwen in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but has never been so popular.

She has also become something of a fashion icon outside of her acting commitments, a Hollywood A-list star, adored for a personal style that is fresh, quirky and elegant, all at once.

A month ago, Tyler also became the official face of Givenchy Paris, signing a four-year contract with the fashion house.

After spending several years on and off in Wellington filming The Lord of the Rings, she has also become noted for her taste in New Zealand labels such as Zambesi, Karen Walker and handbag/accessories designer Saben.

"I never got a chance to shop for other labels in Auckland but would have loved to see what else the place had to offer," Tyler says.

"I love the quality of fabrics and mostly the original designs of New Zealand. I have mostly purchased a lot of Zambesi and Karen Walker stuff because the cuts suit me and fits my own personal style."

Karen Walker's clothing sits comfortably on the edge ; sometimes there's a gender-bending quality while other times it's all about art pop ; and it's exactly this aesthetic that appeals to Tyler.

Kate Winslet and Kelly Osbourne have also worn Walker. Zambesi appeals to Tyler for its strong sense of tailoring- meets-casual ; you can mix and match and it suits Tyler just fine.

Being the face of Givenchy has given Tyler some financial security outside of the topsyturvy world of acting.

"Givenchy is my biggest endorsement contract ever," says Tyler at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington. "It's something I always thought would be good because it's money to have as a constant source of income ; and they spoil me rotten."

Tyler was originally used by Givenchy to promote a fragrance called Very Irresistible. Now her commitments with the brand extend to the clothing.

Tyler was chosen for her elegance, audacity and freshness. Photographer Mario Testino photographed her for the spring/summer 2004 collection that was designed by Welshman Julien Macdonald.

Tyler merges a hint of "early Winona Ryder outlaw" with a pixie-like seduction through her own personal grooming style. Sometimes she's biker tough in a pair of denim jeans, yet she tones it down with a tailored jacket and pointy shoes for added rock-girl oomph.

She's worn everything from quirky one-off pieces by Alexander McQueen to a black-andwhite polka dot dress by Donna Karan.