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Linda Rodin

"I was never a fancy dress-up type of girl. I was always a bit tomboyish. No frills for me."

MONOGRAM: List your name, profession, and place of residence:

My name is LINDA RODIN and I live in Manhattan.  I’ve just launched a line of dog accessories called Linda and Winks.

MONOGRAM: Can you tell us about your new project and why you started it?  

LINDA: I am a dog lover and always have been. Recently I found myself trying to decide what would be my next career. While pondering this, I was out walking my beloved silver poodle, Winky, and I thought, “I wish he had a beautiful leash and collar!” But I couldn’t seem to find simple and stylish dog accessories anywhere. That was my eureka moment, so I decided to design them myself. And here we are. 

MONOGRAM: If you need a dog model, we have a black pug named Roscoe who loves the camera! Have animals always been a big part of your life?

LINDA: I grew up in a family of animal lovers and we were constantly taking care of dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and at one point baby alligators. We lived in a suburban zoo. 

MONOGRAM: You started a beauty brand during the midst of a successful styling career. And now, at 70, you’re again starting a new business, this time in a completely new field. Your willingness to pursue new ideas and challenges is incredibly inspiring. How do you know when it’s time to move on and try something new?

LINDA: That’s a difficult question to answer. But my segue from beauty to the beast felt natural and right when I embarked on it. It just made sense to me. I wanted to spend my time doing something I felt totally passionate about and it was dogs. I love being creative and this next creative step seemed perfect for me. I began developing it early January 2018 and launched the leash and collar sets 9 months later. When I decide to do something, I move full steam ahead. 

MONOGRAM: And what about the literal version of that idea – we’ve read that you have some items of clothing that you’ve owned for 30 or 40 years. How do you know when you’re going to have something forever? Is it based on how many times you wear it, sentimentality, or something completely different?

LINDA: Sometimes it’s sentimental and sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason for holding on to something.  It could be just because it’s too beautiful to give away or maybe that I found it on a wonderful journey somewhere so it’s a souvenir from that trip. 

So there are certain things I’ve held on to forever and so many other things I wish I’d held on to. For instance, when I was living in Italy in 1969 I bought the most beautiful Missoni knit jacket and skirt. And orange ballet flats to match. Weirdly I still have the orange ballet flats, but not the Missoni suit :( There are so many other things I let go of over the years. One can’t keep it all I suppose.

I have a denim shirt (almost transparent from wear) that I’ve had for 35 years.  I have some jewelry I’ve had since I was 12 and 15 years old.  I made a silver and enamel bangle bracelet at 13 in a camp arts-and-crafts class that I still cherish. 

MONOGRAM: At what age do you feel like you came into your own in terms of your personal style?

LINDA: I think I’ve basically had the same style since I was about 18 or so. And luckily I’ve managed to maintain the same silhouette. I’ve always been a denim girl. I have also always worn simple and comfortable clothing. I grew up with Twiggy and also with Joan Baez. So I had 1960s short dresses with flats and go-go style boots as well as long dresses with long hair moments. I was never a fancy dress-up type of girl. I was always a bit tomboyish. No frills for me. 

MONOGRAM: What’s your favorite place to be alone in New York City?

LINDA: My favorite place to be alone in the city is in my apartment with Winks.

MONOGRAM: Do you have a favorite vintage t-shirt? How and when did you acquire it?

LINDA:  I do. It is a very pale lavender cotton ribbed tank top that I got when I was in high school. I still wear it!  I remember wearing it with army green cotton shorts one summer around 1966. 

MONOGRAM: What’s your favorite way to style a t-shirt?

LINDA: Now I wear t-shirts under jackets. I’m a bit self-conscious at this stage to wear one on its own, unless it has long sleeves. (like the MONOGRAM sweatshirt I’m wearing that says ‘bullshit’). 

MONOGRAM: Do you use graphic t-shirts to articulate your point of view? How so?

LINDA: Not really. I have always, however, bought them for posterity, but I don’t wear them too often. If something’s going on in the world and there’s a great t-shirt portraying that moment, I will buy it!  Not necessarily to wear it, but to remember that time.  Although, I did wear my Obama t-shirt for your photo shoot!!

MONOGRAM: Lightening round: describe yourself in terms of the following:

COLOR: Pale aqua marine 
ERA: Mid-1960s to mid-1970s 
FETISH: A particular shell I cherish that I found on a secluded beach many years ago
SYMBOL: Fish (I’m a Pisces)
LOCATION: The Italian Mediterranean
OBJECT: A necklace I wear that belonged to my deceased sister. I never take it off. Ever. 
BEVERAGE: A good cold bottle of British Ginger Ale
VEHICLE: My feet 
RITUAL: Phone off at 7 pm 
TAGLINE: Health is wealth 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Susanna Howe