Beauty: The good oils

By Zoe Walker

One of the stars of Karen Walker's eyewear campaign talks about her luxury skincare line, now available in New Zealand

Linda Rodin in her home. Rodin's range of oils will be stocked at Karen Walker, whose eyewear campaign she recently starred in. Photo / Supplied
Linda Rodin in her home. Rodin's range of oils will be stocked at Karen Walker, whose eyewear campaign she recently starred in. Photo / Supplied

Linda Rodin is the embodiment of modern elegance, with her cool, no-fuss approach to style and beauty. The New York-based stylist has become known for her quirky, yet spare, wardrobe, collection of statement glasses and that incredible, natural, silver hair.

Rodin began her career as a model in Italy in the 60s, and continues to work today at 65, appearing in campaigns for Coach and J Crew. Recently, she starred in the brilliant Karen Walker Eyewear campaign, photographed by Ari Seth Cohen.

In 2007, she launched Rodin Olio Lusso, a skincare line of luxury oils born from her frustration with the complicated offerings and over-the-top claims elsewhere.

"I created Olio Lusso just for myself," she explains modestly. "I couldn't find the right moisturiser out there, so I had to make it myself."

The first product was a face oil, followed by elixirs for body and hair that melt into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Each chemical-free product is made of essential oils derived from flowers and botanicals - blends of jasmine, neroli, argan, arnica, calendula, sunflower, apricot seed and more, in stylish, minimal packaging - which soothe and soften and work to leave skin and hair supple and radiant.

Rodin uses nothing else, and celebrities such as actress Julianne Moore, model Karlie Kloss and health nut Gwyneth Paltrow swear by her oils.

Local beauty fans are also set to be won over, with three products - face, body and hair oil - arriving today at Playpark by Karen Walker.

Rodin Olio Lusso oils, $130-$250, exclusive to Playpark by Karen Walker. Ph (09) 522 4286.


You haved talked about the beauty in simplicity. In a broad sense, how does that idea influence your life?

Well, I'm a creature of habit; I have a very simple diet, dress code and a good work ethic. I seldom vary. I love simple.

How would you describe your personal style?

I always say "classic with a twist". I love original pieces, and never want to see myself "coming and going", but I start with basic shapes and embellish with shoes and some small accessories.

What has your style been shaped and influenced by?

I think my mother and aunt's elegance, and definitely the 1960s - my era of wonderful clothing and fun!

In addition to your style, your apartment has developed somewhat of a fan club, too. Tell us a little about your home.

I live in Chelsea in NYC. I have been in the same building for 34 years and this current apartment for about 20. My home style is not at all like my personal style. My surroundings are the opposite of simple. I collect everything, I love gorgeous flea market finds and, at home, I have very ordered clutter. It's like living in a 1920s' kind of fantasy film.

What and why do you collect?

For me, collecting is like painting. I love to put beautiful things and colours together. My apartment is my canvas. And I fill it up with layer upon layer of things I find beautiful. Anything from books, artwork, photographs, seashells, twig branches, vintage sequins, jewellery ... if it's beautiful or interesting, and I can carry it, I bring it home.

Who is the designer you respect the most?

I couldn't name just one. I love Comme des Garcons, Prada, Lanvin, Martin Margiela ... so many great ones out there.

You have worked in fashion for many years, as a model and stylist, but what is your relationship with fashion like today?

I like to see great things on other people. But I don't experiment much with it. I'm more classic than trendy.

What about your relationship with beauty? Do you take a wholly holistic approach?

I think, as the old adage goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is so subjective and personal. It is, for me, impossible to define beauty. I find it everywhere... every moment.

What beauty products or brands are you loyal to?

Actually, I am loyal to my own eight products. I also use Makeup Forever lip liner, By Terry lipstick, Poppy lipstick, and Clairol Shimmer Lights for my hair. Otherwise, Rodin Olio Lusso all the way.

You have featured prominently on the Advanced Style blog, although founder Ari has said you are only on the cusp of "advanced" style. What is your attitude to ageing, and how it works with the fashion and beauty industries?

I am trying to age as gracefully as possible. I won't have a facelift and I tried fillers, etc, but I'm done with that. I'm at a place now, at 65, and I'm embracing the inevitable. I can live with it... you can't chase your youthful face - or body. You can just try and be healthy. For me, health IS wealth.

What do you do to keep healthy and happy?

I eat very well. Lots of organic lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, eggs, olive oil, salmon. And I eat a bit of chocolate every day. And two glasses of crisp white wine from New Zealand!

- VIVA

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