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Alexander The Great

On the day his new flagship store opened in the meatpacking district, Alexander McQueen found time for a light lunch at the Park with his friend Liv Tyler, with whom he shares a passion for the city and a persistent craving for nicotine.

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New York: How did you two meet?

Liv Tyler: We met through an outfit -- that red suit I wore to the premiere of Lord of the Rings in London.

Alexander McQueen: No, but we met years ago through Kate [Moss].

LT: Oh, my God, that's right! And Alexander almost beat up my boyfriend at that time, Joaquin Phoenix. He and Joaq had some beef or something. It was intense.

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AM:She was just laughing! We saw each other around in London. It's not as wide there as it is here; people are quite close.

LT: I'm having a very stressful two weeks. It's so hot, and I'm quitting smoking. I smoked for eleven years, and you always think it's calming you; you have a fag when you're stressed out, and you're like, Thank God! But it's actually the opposite. It's like having a coke habit!

AM:Mmm. Five days here, then I'm back in a body bag. When I first came to New York, like fifteen years ago, I found it really hard: the pace, the partying. I would go from the plane to the club and so on.

LT: But that's just the fashion world, too.

AM:Yeah. But now I've grown up. . . . You find nice parts. Nice restaurants. Not the fashion restaurants. Ones that are round the corner and down the alleyway that only you and your friends know.

LT: I was born here. At Mount Sinai. I moved away and then lived here since the age of 11. I'm building a new house, and it's so exciting. But it's taking forever! It's been over a year. But there're cute guys working at the house.

AM:Oh, I'll be down there, then.

NY: Why did you choose this neighborhood for your store?

AM:I like to do things different from other people. If Jeffrey wasn't here, I'd still go here because I don't like to follow everyone else. There's no traffic in the meatpacking area -- in fashion, we call people "traffic," all the people walking past your shop, like on Madison Avenue. But I think it adds atmosphere to my work if it's in a strange area. Even at night, when you've got the prostitutes, it's inspiring to me.

LT: Because real life is still happening.

AM:And there are no strollers.

LT: That says a lot about you. Instead of just caring about the moneymaking, you want to stand by what you believe in and what you want your clothes to look like.

AM:I think it's good for New Yorkers as well, because maybe they haven't been down to the meatpacking district because they're thinking, Oh, all that sticky meat! I enjoy it more every time I come. 'Cept I'm always working; I always have meetings backed up one after the other.


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