When She's Not Styling Madonna, Linda Rodin Is Focused On One Thing: Denim
No one would argue that Linda Rodin’s life hasn't been impressive. She was a model in Italy in the '60s, was a stylist for the likes of Madonna and Bergdorf Goodman for decades, and edited Harper's Bazaar. In the past decade she has created a cult beauty oil, Rodin olio lusso, which she first concocted in her bathroom and later sold to Estée Lauder. She has fronted campaigns for the likes of Karen Walker, and has amassed more than 200,000 followers on Instagram due in large part to her covetable sense of style.
Now in her 70s, Rodin is embarking on yet another project. Called Linda and Winks, it is a new line of dog accessories inspired by her miniature poodle, Winks, who makes regular cameos in her Instagram feed. Bold colors and statement sunglasses also feature prominently, creating a look that evokes the exact joyfulness with which she approaches her life. You get the sense that she's just getting started.
What piece instantly makes you feel more confident and why?
My favorite vintage 501 Levi’s. They fit like a glove and work with everything. They’re about to fall apart, but I keep repairing them. I basically live in denim, so a flattering pair of jeans that work with everything in my closet is very valuable to me.
I was a stylist for 40 years, which meant I was privy to all the new trends and what looked good and what didn’t.
How do you define your personal style?
I would say causal, simple, and a bit tomboyish — I am always wearing pants and rarely ever wear dresses or skirts.
How has your style played a role in your career? Has it opened or closed doors for you? Has it evolved as a result?
I’m not sure it was my style that got me into styling, I think it was my interest in clothing, but I suppose my personal style has opened doors. I was a stylist for 40 years, which meant I was privy to all the new trends and what looked good and what didn’t. Putting that knowledge into practice in my work and my personal style caused them both to evolve, I think.
What fashion category do you feel is lacking? What would you like to see more of?
I think it’s always important to see fashion that is wearable. I’m not a fan of “costume clothing.” I gravitate always to things I can wear in my real life, things I can walk in, move around easily in, and feel comfortable in. That said, I don't think that requires items to be shapeless or boring. You can be stylish and chic while also being incredibly comfortable. I like to see more of those options.
What is your daily uniform? How has it changed or stayed the same? Why is it your uniform?
I have had the same uniform forever, mainly because I always prioritize comfort. My uniform consists of 99 percent denim bottoms paired with flats or sneakers, and then I spice it up with tops of all kinds. I'm always wearing that same silhouette.
I don’t care about the labels; I only care about the style and fit.
What style item do you covet the most? A category, a designer, a specific item? Or what item do you always gravitate toward?
I am a fan of Dries Van Noten, Sies Marjan, Junya Watanabe, and Martin Margiela. I am a fan of all denim — not just jeans — by anyone and everyone. Of course, I treasure my vintage 501 Levi’s, but I also have wonderful denim from Junya Watanabe and Chloé. I own an absolutely amazing vintage floor-length Ralph Lauren denim skirt which has a bit of a train. I found some wonderful overalls in France about four years ago from Sonia Rykiel, and I also have a good pair from Brandy Melville. I don’t care about the labels; I only care about the style and fit.
If money were no object, what luxury item would you invest in?
A walk-in closet!
Can you recall an outfit you have worn that was iconic for you?
I lived in Italy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I took a trip to London and bought an amazing mini skirt and jacket at Biba. It was a mustard and brown tweed set. I also bought a very cool and hip Carnaby Street maxi coat. When I returned to Milan, where I was living and working, I wore that outfit with over-the-knee flat boots I had gotten in Florence, and I had all eyes on me. It was the first time I felt cool! I wish I had that outfit now. It would still be a showstopper.
Women over 50 are being highlighted for their style and charm and knowledge about fashion and all things. I hope it continues. We older women know a lot and have a lot to share. It’s nice to have an audience.
Which item in your closet is your most beloved/have you owned for the longest and why?
I have a pair of orange ballet flats that I bought in Italy when I was 20! They’re very Brigitte Bardot, low-cut and wonderful. I still wear them!
How has the conversation around age and fashion changed in your experience, and how do you want to see it progress?
I think it’s changed in the sense that women over 50 are being highlighted for their style and charm and knowledge about fashion and all things. I hope it continues. We older women know a lot and have a lot to share. It’s nice to have an audience.
How has your style changed, if at all, as you’ve matured? Why or why not?
It’s changed because of how my body has changed and what I’m not comfortable wearing any longer, like a bikini or sleeveless tops or denim short shorts. I still have the same physical silhouette that I’ve had since I was 20 or so and I’m very fortunate for that, so I haven’t really had to change style. I've just had to adapt to a few things that don't look well on me any longer. I feel very very blessed by this.
To what (or whom) do you credit your interest in or affinity for style? What is your earliest style memory?
Certainly my mother. She was chic, very glamorous, and had a great sense of style. My earliest fashion memory is a day when my mother came home with dresses for my sister, and I was probably 4. The dress was made out of pale yellow paper, and it had black-and-white-striped piping around the neckline, the cap sleeves, and the hem. I remember just loving it and was shocked that it was essentially a disposable dress. It was very avant-garde for 1952!
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.