“I’ve lived in New York for sixty years -my whole life!” declares fashion stylist and beauty entrepreneur Linda Rodin. But it was a hiatus in Italy with a teenage crush that marked her earliest introduction to the industry: “He worked in a studio where they shot Italian Vogue”, Rodin recalls, adding, “That’s where I met Twiggy and Verushka!”
Today, with an expansive resume of top clientele tucked neatly under her size zero patent leather belt - from Revlon to Victoria’s Secret, Halle Berry to Adriana Lima (whom she dresses for all major events) - Rodin is a veritable slice of New York fashion history.
“I designed clothes,” recounts Rodin “and had the first ever boutique in Soho: The Hop Shop” – in homage to her youth quaker nickname that stuck: Linda Hop. Styling shortly followed, when she fell in with the crowd that headed landmark department store Henri Bendel. “Back then, Bergdorf existed, but Bendel’s was hipper, like Barney’s today. I styled their first catalogues. I didn’t even know you could have a career in styling - in the early eighties, who knew?”
“And in the seventies” she continues, “no one cared about clothes the way they do now. New York was like a small town - it was fantastic. I have some tales that would make your hair curl!” Rodin adds, though these days the enterprising inventor would much rather moisturize your face.
“Trying a new business at my age - a bit of a folly - but very exciting. Never too old for anything!” she chirps about her patent-pending product, Olio Lusso. Rodin’s home-developed blend of eleven hydrating essential oils for the face is currently available through NYC dermatologist-to-the-stars Dr. David Colbert, and sold in national boutiques such as John Derian, A Détacher, and Studio at Fred Segal.
The venture is off to a glowing start, and slated to expand. From actresses to models, the A-list of devotees reads like Page Six, including supermodels such as Laeticia Casta and Alessandra Ambrosio and actresses like Liv Tyler. Domino and People magazines have already covered her highly coveted creation, and with an honorable mention in this month's Vogue, its popularity is sure to grow. “I’m coming out with other products,” declares the ever-industrious Rodin, “Body oil, hair oil, and a candle are next.”
But despite the glamour, Rodin’s life is a quietly led one, and she’s happiest that way. “I work really hard, and then I’m back home at six. They’ll say: 'Linda, come on, we're going out to a great new restaurant and it's gonna be fabulous!' And I say: 'Bye!' - I’m not interested at all.”
And in this era of bearing it all, the timeless tastemaker adheres to a classic idea when shopping for clients: “You can be sexy and elegant without being over the top. At the end of the day everybody wants to look elegant. Sometimes they just don't know how.”
“I don't buy designer clothing for myself,” Rodin adds, “I’d never spend $3000 on a handbag. Ever! I refuse.” But in a business where the pricey purchases nonetheless pile up, she offers a simple solution: “I give it away - sometimes to Housing Works or to the daughter of somebody or someone's cousin in Philadelphia. They don't even know how lucky they are!”
More striking than this, and than her own radiant appearance, is Rodin’s refreshing attitude toward ageing in a youth-obsessed industry: “I don't do anything. Zero. Less than zero. Never dance, never stretch. Never done anything regularly for my skin. I realize at this point in my life, I don't want to look younger. You don't look younger. You look older with a facelift!"
Rodin, who is arguably more beautiful than ever, reveals, “I look at my pictures when I was younger and go: God, why didn't I realize I was so cute? But I see myself now as that little old lady with long hair and wrinkles and think: 'And what's so wrong with that?'”
Absolutely nothing - if that’s what sixty looks like. Whatever’s in that oil of hers, it certainly seems to be working!
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