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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Liv Taylor goes from rock to a soft place at Belstaff

8 Декабря 2015

Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, collaborating with actress Liv Tyler
Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, collaborating with actress Liv Tyler

Liv Taylor wrapped a leather jacket around her lithe body. The filmstar and producer produced a look that was more feminine and more sensual than the military clothes pictured on the Belstaff mood board behind her. Those were images of intrepid women who had apparently borrowed their fathers' or boyfriends' coats — as befits a fashion house on the tough side.

Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection for Belstaff
Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection for Belstaff


"The jacket that I want to create is very fitted, almost like a second skin. I want the shape to be very sexy and very feminine," said Liv, who has collaborated with Belstaff designer Delphine Ninous on a capsule collection. Liv's connection with Belstaff started last year when she was executive producer of the fashion company's movie , starring David Beckham and a cast that included Hollywood legend Harvey Keitel.

Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection with Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous
Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection with Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous

Watching her at work with Delphine in Belstaff's London premises, I saw that Liv was hands on (literally), tugging on a boot and judging it "too chunky round the ankle". She then slipped on a camel coat that she had added to the range of tougher outerwear. This capsule women's collection will be in stores for winter 2016, as a way of generating interest in Belstaff's lesser-known women's line.

Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection with Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous
Actress Liv Tyler working on her capsule collection with Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous

"A lot of it came from us talking about ideal pieces: a coat, a jacket and different little pieces that could express my version of them," said Liv, 38, who started as a teenage model and made her name in film with Bernardo Bertolucci's in 1996.

The new fashion contribution comes partly from her personal experience of her own life as a New York working mother, who has two sons, aged 10 and nine months. Liv explained that she and Delphine "looked at images of things we loved throughout history, and how it can be unisex when you grab your boyfriend's or your father's coat."

Liv Tyler during fittings for her Belstaff capsule collection
Liv Tyler during fittings for her Belstaff capsule collection

Did that idea come from her famous father — Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, the rock group that made its name in the Seventies? "I've never seen my dad in a leather jacket — I wish he would, but he wears suede jackets!" said Liv. "When I think of leather, it is the Fifties images, like ." Gavin Haig, CEO of Belstaff, sees Liv's role as both personal and as a global focus for Belstaff womenswear. "Liv has her own individual, classic style with an edge — and a spirit of freedom and adventure,” said Haig.

The mood board for Liv Tyler’s capsule collection for Belstaff
The mood board for Liv Tyler’s capsule collection for Belstaff
The mood board for Liv Tyler’s capsule collection for Belstaff
The mood board for Liv Tyler’s capsule collection for Belstaff

There is no doubt that designer Delphine is the one who turns into reality Liv's desire for a softer leather jacket with a narrow cut, or a military coat with black buttons and leather piping, or even a shearling vest layered with the leather jacket. But Delphine was eager to explain that this capsule collection is much more than just a dose of fashion: “It's definitely useful to bring style - but also to bring water-resistant fabrics, even cashmere, is something that is very important to Belstaff.

Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, with actress Liv Tyler
Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, with actress Liv Tyler

"I don't compromise the style for the functionality - it's important that we combine the two,” Delphine continued. Liv admitted that in the deep freeze of a New York winter, "fashion sometimes goes out of the window. "When I'm walking my kid to school in the morning, because it's so painfully cold, you need something very warm or lots of layers, thick scarves and hats," she said.

Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, with actress Liv Tyler
Belstaff’s vice president of women’s design, Delphine Ninous, with actress Liv Tyler

As female ambassador for Belstaff, with its reach across Asia, Europe and beyond, how is Liv going to wear the clothes to make them stylish and internationally relevant? "I want the jacket to be very thin and stretchy — to be able to throw it on over a chiffony dress," she said. "I don't really wear leather jackets every day — I don't have quite that much adventure!”

Belstaff designer Delphine Ninous with Liv Tyler and Suzy
Belstaff designer Delphine Ninous with Liv Tyler and Suzy


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