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.
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.
LT: What I like most about being in New York is that I can just be a normal person.
AM:Do you never get hassled?
LT: I do, but I’m quite eccentric, and I just run around and do all my things and go buy toilet paper. People look at me like I’m crazy. I have a driver for, like, sometimes if I have to go uptown. I like how unpredictable it is and how things can happen and affect your life. Here you have to see things, you have to help each other.
AM:Do you think New York is sort of an island of its own in America?
LT: I do.
AM:It feels really isolated.
LT: It’s because there’s so much diversity; there’s so much in one place. People coming from all over the world to live these dreams. But it’s not as bad as Hollywood… . We’ve been going upstate a lot. We have wild turkey and little baby deer. Apparently, the first week when the babies are born, the mothers, they go off on their own for the day –
AM:Facials, manicure, Brazilian –
LT: Sure enough, that night the mother came back –
AM:With a man!
LT: But it’s nice to be back in the city. I think of it as a series of villages. I was in the East Village the other day, and I thought, Oh, I love the East Village, even though it’s changed so much. There’s an energy there that’s nowhere else in the city. To me, one of the misconceptions is that people always think New Yorkers are really mean and cold –
AM:Well, you are!
LT: – and don’t help each other, but I’ve always felt that people are more generous and loving here than anywhere else in the world. For me, that’s been my experience.
NY: Tell us what you’re excited about in fashion this fall.
LT: I think camel toes are going to come back into fashion![Laughter.]
NY: Is that what you’ll be showcasing in your fall collection?
AM:It’s very gothic. Very Sleepy Hollow. I like to create things where you can make the clothes yours. Some fashion, it’s like it’s just art; you could hang it up in a frame. My clothes aren’t like that: You can make them your own – you can wear it.
LT: Like when I saw that red suit in the look book, it looked really quite dramatic and the hair was really black and the makeup was really severe. But then when I put it on, it looked very soft because of the way I did my hair and makeup. It looked like me. Your trousers – oh, my God!
AM:She does good P.R. Do you mind if I smoke?
LT: No! I love it! Blow it all over me. Drench me in it!