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Belstaff x Liv Tyler: the Sky is the Limit

Tamsin Crimmens discovers the connection between the actress's autumn/winter 2016 capsule collection and pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart.

Women have always expressed their sense of freedom through style. From trousers in the 1920s to miniskirts in the 1960s, clothes have been a defining feature of a woman’s empowerment and autonomy throughout history. Today, they demand from their clothing the liberty to work, live and adventure unencumbered.

Belstaff brand ambassador Liv Tyler tapped into this desire for form married with function to create a capsule collection for Autumn/Winter 2016. The twelve pieces take inspiration from Belstaff's archives and Tyler's own individualistic, classic-with-a-rock-star-edge style - as evidenced by a pea coat with leather trim and gold buttons which she could have very well borrowed from her boyfriend.

Many of the actress's ideas were inspired by her real-life role as a working mother to two sons and a new baby daughter. With Delphine Ninous, Belstaff's Collection Creative Director, she created a fitted version of the sweeping Milford coat and hooded nylon parka, with busy women on the school run firmly in mind.

A monochrome image pinned to the design duo's mood board, of three female pilots dressed in leather jackets and goggles applying lipstick in vanity mirrors. This perfectly captures the ethos of the collection which, according to Tyler, 'celebrates the feminine and masculine rolled into one'.

'I wanted to express strength through the outerwear and leather pieces, and sensuality through the softer materials and more tailored silhouettes,' she explains. Thus, the collection includes a fine-leather jacket with a removable collar and quilted interior paired with a blush pussy-bow blouse and fitted knee-length riding boots - a look reminiscent of that sported by iconic aviatrix Amelia Earhart, back in the 1920s, who was one of the first women Belstaff ever dressed.

Liv Tyler on the set of Falling Up
Liv Tyler on the set of Falling Up

A similar spirit of glamour coupled with grit is revealed in a short film entitled Falling Up, in which she played the starring role. The film, which was executive-produced by Tyler who worked on it with creative director Jefferson Hack and director Niall O'Brien, retraces the footsteps of this aviation legend. In it, the actress is seen both sliding herself under an aircraft, spanner in hand, and dancing draped in silk eveningwear.

'We wanted to tell the story of who the Belstaff woman really is: free-spirited, independent, brave... She commands real respect,' says Tyler.

The freedoms women enjoy today wouldn't be possible without the pioneers of the past. Intrepid explorers such as Amelia Erhart paved the way for boundary-pushers like Tyler to express herself in film, and now, in fashion too.

Tamsin Crimmens

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