Linda Rodin is a remarkable woman.
Now in her 60s, Linda has spent four decades working the fashion industry in various iterations – as a long time stylist, owner of legendary Soho boutique Linda Hopp, and creator of her eponymous beauty force Rodin Olio Lusso.
You’ve probably seen photos – maybe in the 2014 pre-Fall campaign for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s label The Row, or through her regularly updated Instagram feed (“I’m always posting pictures and they’re always of me and my dog,“ she tells us. “Those are the only pictures anybody ever likes.”), and you’re instantly aware of her elegant, tastefully cool élan.
She’s a rare bird – enigmatic and tiny and beautiful. But it’s her attitude to life, completely comfortable sense of self, and her imperviousness to the bullshit of the contemporary beauty and fashion industry machine that makes her particularly rare.
On the subject of ageing gracefully, for example, she is candidly dismissive.
When we complimented her on the gorgeous photos from our shoot in her fabulous Manhattan apartment she immediately counters: “well, you didn’t see me in person. That’s one thing. Everything is photoshopped. Anyway, having said that it’s true: I look great in some pictures and then I look in the mirror and I know that I don’t look like that. I’ve said this all so many times. [Ageing] is not really graceful. There’s nothing graceful about it.”
She admits to trying filler five or six years ago and quickly realised it was to be a short-lived experiment. “I was looking like a fraud, like everybody else. All these women look exactly the same. I just didn’t find it interesting or appealing so I never did it again. I think my motto is ‘health is wealth’. You can’t have it all. Healthy is the best part.”
Amen to that.
Her own beauty empire Rodin Olio Lusso grew from that focus on self-nurturing and a consciousness about health and good ingredients. It was an enterprise that literally started in the bathroom of her New York apartment.
The highly coveted Rodin face oil – the first product in her growing line that now ranges from hand cream to lip balm – was mixed from organic, essential oils she had bought at the local health food store.
“I’m not a businesswoman,” Linda tells us. “I wanted the [products] myself. It’s always been a pretty selfish endeavour for me. I wanted a hand cream. I wanted a soap. I wanted a candle. I wanted a perfume. I make things that I really want.”
Based on the success of her products, it seems that a lot of people want the same things.
“One of my taglines is ‘Beauty in simplicity’”, Linda says. “I don’t spend a lot of time primping. I’m not a primper. I don’t want to fuss with anything and I just want to get out the door. It’s not that I’m in a rush; I just don’t like to linger. I’d rather sit in the bathtub.”
See what we mean: a remarkable woman.
Words by Suz Tucker, photographed by Soraya Zaman.