You know what they say: There’s no time like shortly after announcing that you are consciously uncoupling from a world-famous British rock star to branch out into retail.
And thus on Monday, May 5, in the year 2014 AD, actress-slash-lifestyle entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow—who revealed last month that she and Coldplay’s Chris Martin would be splitting up after 10 years of marriage—finally (finally!) answered the world’s prayers and opened a shopable, brick-and-mortar version of her beloved (and be-hated) Goop Web site in L.A.’s posh, faux-rustic, Gooptastic Brentwood Country Mart shopping center.
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I mean, why settle for reading Gwyneth’s tips for living like Gwyneth and purchasing Gwyneth-endorsed products from a webshop when you can “experience this stuff in person,” as one of the lovely Goop Pop-Up staffers told me this morning?
The doors were supposed to swing effortlessly, breezily open at 10:00 a.m., but when I arrived around 10:20, they were still locked. A worker was peeling the Coming Soon decal off the window. A crowd had gathered: women clutching yoga mats; women in loose printed pants and pink patent leather sandals; women with babies and strollers and Goyard handbags. A few paparazzi milled about.
“Anyone know if Gwyneth is coming?” one asked in a predictably British accent.
“She is,” an expectant customer replied. “I heard she’s going to sign her books! But maybe not until later this week.”
Oh well. On this particular morning we—and the papparazzi—would have to make do with a bandanaed, unmade-up Lisa Rinna, whose lips were even more pneumatic in person. She was in and out in a few minutes, a bag of Goopy trinkets under her arm.
But while Ms. Paltrow may not have been there in person, she was certainly there in spirit. In fact, the Goop Pop-Up is likely as close as any of us are going to get to going home with Gwyneth (perhaps to her $14 million John Lautner mansion in Malibu). Pink walls. Exposed wooden beams. West Side, post-yoga, just—whipping-up-a-quick-kale-salad-in-our-sprawling-chef’s-kitchen vibes.
There were, of course, her two books—It’s All Good and My Father’s Daughter—stacked strategically around the room. There was also a lot of the supremely “tasteful” product that’s already available at Goop.com: $200 Frame jeans, $150 Khadi cloth blankets, $10 balls of cooking twine. There was even a row of four handkerchiefs that had been monogrammed, over and over again, with a familiar set of initials: a lowercase “gp"; a script “GP,"; “GMP” in two handsome variations.
In case you’re wondering, Paltrow’s middle name is Kate. The M is for Martin.
But what really made the Goop Pop-Up such a special place—for good or ill, depending on your view of Gwyneth’s peculiar power—was what the clerk called the “one of a kind stuff we’ve sourced from around the world.”
Stuff like a $345 key-shaped brass bottle opener by Viennese modernist designer Carl Aubock.
And an $825 silver Walker & Hall Sheffield ice bucket.
And a giant, fluffy $265 Icelandic shearling pillow.
And a $1,750 marble-and-steel side table.
And a vintage 1980s Christian Dior leather backgammon set—only $2,350!
I suppose I could complain here about Gwyneth’s sense of celebrity entitlement—whatever it is that has convinced her that we want to live like her; that carefully curated products are the way to do it; and that we’re all so eager to pay for the privilege that a mere webshop wasn’t sufficient. I’m sure plenty of people will—in other publications, in the comments, wherever.
But my apologies: I actually have to run back to the Goop Pop-Up for a second. You see, there’s this 1960s Rolex Explorer that I’ve got my eye on now. Sure, it's $5,895. But a boy can dream, right? All I need is an Academy Award and a British rock star spouse and I should be good to go.