Location: New York, NY
Marital Status: Single
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, NYU
Linda Rodin has been a stunning fixture in the world of fashion since she started modeling in Italy in the 1960s. When she returned to New York City in the 70s, she fell in with the crowd who launched Bendel’s. “I styled their first catalogs,” she explains. “I didn’t even know you could have a career in stylin—back then, who knew?” Since then she’s owned a wildly influential clothing boutique, Linda Hopp, edited Harper’s Bazaar, and become one of New York’s most sought-after stylists…
But this indie pioneer would rather discuss her latest venture—a patented face oil called Olio Usso that she launched 2 years ago. The blend of eleven essential oils has a cultish following among makeup artists, models and other industry insiders. Most recently, she’s converted her own dermatologist and added a body oil and lip balm to the line.
“Trying a new business at my age—a bit of a folly—but very exciting,” she says. “Never too old for anything!”
How do you define your personal style?
Classically simple with a twist—like, a tailored men’s shirt with hot pink polka dots. I like to mix it up—be eclectic.
Do you have a signature look?
Dark navy jeans, some kind of top or sweater, and a little black coat. Lately, it’s this great Prada that’s cinched at the waist. And flat motorcycle boots.
I can’t always afford to buy designers—unless they’re on sale. But, I love Prada, Miu Miu, Roland Mouret, Vera Wang (sometimes) and Burberry. But I won’t buy a $2,000 Prada cashmere sweater—I only buy designers for very special things and for handbags and shoes. I’d buy a lot more Lanvin if I could.
Do you have any non-designer staples?
I buy jeans in bulk at Uniqlo for $39 and at Urban Outfitters (they’re called Cheap Mondays). And I like vintage white t-shirts. A white shirt shouldn’t be stylish, it should be like you’re boyfriend’s shirt that fits a little better.
How has your style evolved?
In the late 60s I wore hot pants and mini skirts. Then I did the hippy thing—long hair and big hoop earrings. I’m much less affected by trends now. If they say that red is out this month, I say, who cares. I always wore a lot of black, but then in the early 90s I started wearing hot pink and turquoise blue. Now I’m back to black, but I’ll wear touches of those two colors. They are my favorites.
Any style no-nos?
Why would anyone wear cropped pants? They make you look shorter and fatter. They don’t even look good on the runway!
And I personally won’t wear high heals anymore—except maybe once a year—because I’m not comfortable. I love ballet slippers and Mary Janes and lace-up men’s shoes. Louboutin does a great 2-inch heel with a Mary Jane strap.
Where do you shop in NYC?
Everywhere—because I’m a stylist. I like Barneys, and recently I’ve been going to The Dressing Room on the Lower East Side. I mean, that’s a store for 20-year olds, but if you really know what looks good on you, you can shop anywhere.
Oh, and I love the Albright Fashion Library. Everyone from a Meryl Streep to a runway model goes there to get clothes for events. If you have your eye on a $20,000 designer dress, you can rent it at Albright for $2,000 a night. Or rent a Hermes handbag if you want to look groovy for a weekend.
What’s your beauty routine?
I wear my grey hair in a ponytail every day; and no makeup, except for a dark rosy pink lipstick from Shu Uemura. I used to play with makeup—now I wear glasses instead of mascara.
The one thing I do is go to Dr David Colbert. Everyone over 50 should be in his office. He does the best non-invasive skin treatments. You’ll glow for weeks. He recommends Retin-A to his patients to smooth out wrinkles, but it can be drying, so now he recommends it in combination with my face oil, Olio Lusso.
Who inspires you?
Past boyfriends. One was a great writer, one a pianist and one a cook.
Are you married?
I’m single now. I have never wanted to be married, but I was engaged 4 times. I couldn’t have children so I thought, why get married? I could never bear to be with anyone I wasn’t completely in love with.
Do you have a signature item?
My jewelry. I wear two bracelets from Finn< that I never take off. Angelina Jolie also wears her stuff. And my tattoo bracelet from Aurora Lopez. I have two gold bracelets and a set of grey pearls from Soraya that I wear every day. They all sell in Barneys.
I wore LE by Givenchy for decades, but a few years ago I decided to mix things up. Now I’m wearing Chanel #19. Scent is very important to me.
Favorite restaurants in New York?
Little Owl in the West Village, Hasaki (a Japanese restaurant on east 9th) and Le Pain Quotidian. I don’t cook, so I literally go to LPQ three times a day.
Last great book?
I love to read the classics—lately, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. There are so many gorgeous books that reading new bestsellers makes me ill.
White wine from Australia. Right now I’m buying one called White Haven from New Zealand.
Favorite spot in NYC?
The flea market on 25th and Broadway. I never go home empty handed. My apartment is filled with items I picked up there.
My dog. He’s a Bassett Hound—a gift from my friend Laetitia Casta. I give him whatever dog treats he wants and tons of peanut butter and bananas. I love and adore this 70 pound creature.
And food. If I really want to buy food, I never look at the price. I bring home tuna from Paris, incredible smoked salmon from Sable’s on 2nd avenue, and every kind of cheese from Murray’s.
What do you do to rejuvenate?
Sleep a lot. Sleep is the key to everything.
Recently I developed vertigo and I couldn’t get out of bed. I went to an acupuncturist, Dr. Steven Schramm, and he was incredible. He looks like Woody Allen, and he’s completely intuitive and smart. He cured my vertigo and diagnosed my anemia and insomnia. He prescribed a really great organic steak once a week, and now I’m in heaven.
Do you have a cause or an interest that you’re passionate about?
I’m very passionate about the war because my nephew is in the army. But I always give very privately. Charity begins at home for me. I’m not a group person—I’d rather do everything on my own.
I’m also a passionate shell collector. Give me a beach and bucket and I’ll never pick my head up from the sand.