“When I think of icons, I think of Audrey Hepburn or Brigitte Bardot, or somebody really extraordinary,” Ms. Rodin said. “I am so not that person.”
She does, however, tend to follow her own lead, inclined to regard every challenge as a fresh opportunity. Consider her farsighted SoHo boutique: a Bauhaus-inspired, gray-walled gallery-like space that she opened, she said, on a wing and a prayer. An aspiring photographer, she had tracked down props and styled models for the photographer Gösta Peterson, who playfully rechristened her Linda Hopp, after the swing-era Lindy Hop.
Soon enough, Ms. Rodin recalled, “I realized that I liked producing pictures, not shooting them.”
A friend suggested that she open a store, and when a space became available on West Broadway, then a mostly barren street, Ms. Rodin set up shop. Her new vocation suited her. “It lets me put all my instincts together in a good way,” she said at the time. “It’s like one long styling job.”
She showcased designers who were just beginning to build followings. They included Diane Pernet, now a celebrated fashion writer, who created a Bauhaus dress, red on one side, black on the other. And the store stocked minimalist creations by Calvin Klein and avant-grade looks by Norma Kamali, pieces that defied easy categorization.
“I wanted to have nothing trendy,” Ms. Rodin said. “If you’re spending $500 or $600, you don’t want to be out of style the next year.”
Those designer labels hung alongside her own designs. Some, including a red wool bomber with dolman sleeves, had a gender-free appeal as relevant now as they were in 1980, when Bergdorf Goodman featured Linda Hopp designs in her own in-store boutique.