Lynda Resnick knows a thing or two about packaging. Over her 40-year career as an entrepreneur and marketing guru, she has turned pomegranates into a trendy fruit, named a brand of mandarin oranges “Cuties,” promoted the benefits of “artesian” bottled water and sold hundreds of thousands of replicas of Jackie Kennedy’s famous faux pearls.
She and her husband have built up one successful brand after another, including Teleflora, the Franklin Mint, POM Wonderful and Fiji Water. And now they’ve help build an addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — the 45,000-square-foot, $54-million Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion opening in October.
As an arts patron, she has served on the museum’s collector’s committee since 1992. Now she’s also vice chairman of the board of trustees, as well as chairwoman of the acquisitions and executive committees.
Resnick, 67, who recently donated several pieces from her own wardrobe to the museum’s costume and textiles department, also happens to be a bit of a clotheshorse. (Because what is fashion if not packaging?) We chatted with her recently about style.
Describe your personal style.
I’m afraid I was a bit of a coquette in my youth, but now that I’m a grandmother with an 18-year-old granddaughter, I’m simplifying what I wear. That means less ornamentation, less high fashion and more relaxed Southern California matron.
When did you discover fashion?
As a child, I was tortured because my mother was a brilliant seamstress who made most of my clothes. I was despised by the children at school because I looked like I was going to an opening every day. We weren’t wealthy at all; we lived in a row house in Philadelphia. But the woman next door had been a patternmaker for Dior who fled [France] because of the war. My mother learned how to sew from her.
What was your first big splurge?
An $18 pair of Capezio high heels that I bought at the age of 18.
What is your daily uniform?
Casual pants, a cashmere shawl and nice suits for public speaking. I like a hem below my knee even though I was blessed with fairly good gams. I’m afraid I wear too high heels, 41/2 inches, but I think that’s also coming to an end. I love Louboutin the most.
You donated some of your wardrobe to LACMA?
I just gave 37 pieces to the museum — Chanel suits and Geoffrey Beene dresses. I had been saving clothes from late 1970s to the 1990s and decided I should give them away.
Do you work with a stylist?
I have wonderful people at every store who send me things because they know I don’t have time to shop. If I’m shopping but not working, I worry about how much money I’m spending and how much I am wasting by not working. I have also been working with a stylist for years. He helped me with my Jean Paul Gaultier gown for the opening of the Resnick Pavilion. It’s my first couture outfit, and I suspect it will be my last. I love fashion but I don’t love it enough to spring for that amount of money.
What other designers do you wear?
I just discovered Giambattista Valli. I ordered some things for the fall from him. I used to have full collections from Chanel and Geoffrey Beene when I was in Philadelphia, but I like to mix it up now. I buy from J. Crew and Victoria’s Secret.
Who are your style icons?
Wallis Simpson and Jackie Kennedy. They are two women that I spent a lot of time studying. Wallis, because we did things with her at the Franklin Mint. [The collectibles company reproduced and sold replicas of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry, as well as Kennedy’s triple strand of pearls.] And Jackie for the pearls of course. Jackie Kennedy was the most appropriately dressed first lady we’ve ever had. You can see how lasting Jackie’s style is.