We premiere the cinematic collaboration between Liv Tyler, Jefferson Hack and Niall O'Brien, celebrating Amelia Earhart and Tyler's new collection for Belstaff
Since she slunk onto our screens aged 17 as a doe-eyed ingenue in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, Liv Tyler has resolutely refused to fall into the part of just another pretty face.
A self-confessed curious soul, Tyler is something of a creative polymath, turning her hand to producing, writing, and - in her role as Belstaff's newly appointed Brand Ambassador and Creative Contributor - now designer.
To mark the launch of her debut capsule collection, Tyler executively produced a short film for the brand, Falling Up which harnesses the adventurous spirit of the brand, and celebrates the strong women who encapsulate it. With creative direction by Jefferson Hack and directed by Niall O'Brien, Tyler stars as pioneering 1920s aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, one of the first women Belstaff ever dressed.
Indeed, Earhart's words "I can only say that I do it because I want to", could easily have been uttered by Tyler too. Here she talks about filming Falling Up, her penchant for practical clothes and being a modern day Renaissance woman.
On Falling Up... "When we were thinking of who the modern day Belstaff woman is, Jefferson went straight to Amelia Earhart, who was the Belstaff woman of the past – that was very elegant, and something that I hadn't really thought of. Then Niall spent a lot of time writing us an actual script with dialogue and characters, rather than just letting it be a commercial.
He was very interested in focusing on Amelia Earhart's husband, who she had a very bizarre relationship with. I think he loved her so much and was always trying to protect her but she was such a tough cookie, and so independent; she was very brave and really didn't want, or need, anyone's help.
There's a scene where he was famously saying goodbye to her before she got on her last flight and she shook his hand instead of hugging him, when she said goodbye. She didn't seem to be very sentimental – which is the opposite of me! I thought that was very interesting that she was just really following her heart, she was very modern for that time. That was the part of the story that Niall really wanted to focus on, her internal conflict and that conflict with the person who was the closest person to her, and her independence and that beautiful passion that sometimes you have to let someone do what they need to do because they're following their heart and you can't do anything but watch and support them."
On getting into character as Amelia Earhart... "Playing Amelia was such a great gift. If I was playing her in a film, then I'd have months to prepare, but this came about so quickly that I honestly just did some research and then showed up! I knew it wasn't supposed to be a perfect historic interpretation – it was supposed to be our interpretation – so I didn't want to overthink it too much. It was quite beautiful to just feel it happen, to have it all morph and come together. It actually felt like we were making a movie."
On designing a capsule collection... "I think that the whole idea of Belstaff was that it was made for practicality; they use really good quality fabrics that hold up and last a long time. But we all need that protection, and putting it in a more luxurious world is kind of fun.
I feel like I need these pieces in my wardrobe, and I hope other people want them too! I've been part of fashion for so long and worked with so many amazing designers who've actually made things on my body but I've never actually designed a collection like this, so I've learned a whole other side of it.
You really have to trust your team because you go over inspirations and ideas and do sketches and then you kind of hand it over to someone else to make and then they send it back to you and you tweak it – it's not all 'you'. As an actor, I'm the only one doing my performance, but when you're creating a piece of clothing there are so many talented people involved."
On the difference between producing and acting... "I love both acting and producing – but it's interesting when you find a new passion. It's so fun to be excited about something again because acting for me – although I love it so much – can be quite painful sometimes; you put yourself through so much emotion to play these characters, and I take it so seriously.
Producing, I felt like a kid in a candy store! It was so fun to be involved in all the different decisions creatively and with the crew. I didn't really realise until I started doing it how much experience and knowledge of things I had just from observing and being a part of movies for so long. It made me want to do more of it, to be able to bring back all of the amazing things that I learned from Robert Altman and Bernardo Bertolucci and all the amazing directors and cinematographers of a different generation."
On overcoming self-doubt... "I think I felt quite brave at the beginning of my career and then I went through this period in the middle where I just wanted to hide away a little bit and I felt less sure about things.
Suddenly, in the last couple of years, I've just felt much more excited about following my heart, not being afraid to take risks and make mistakes and try and enjoy as much as I can. I think that sometimes I worry so much about making everything perfect but it's not really about doing that – it's just about doing it and seeing what happens."
On motherhood... "The thing about being an actor is that it's your job to leave yourself and become someone else, go to a new place. It's an incredible experience but that becomes slightly more challenging when you have real people at home who need you to be there for, so it changes things a lot and, over the last couple of years, I've been exploring other things.
I wrote a book with my grandmother, which was really interesting and I'm really enjoying producing and designing. I just feel so grateful getting the chance to do these things and try them, I'm so excited about the next chapter of my life."