At Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog-inspired pop-up shop currently open in Los Angeles’ Brentwood Country Mart, you can buy a custom (for Goop, not for you) $620 knit heather-grey Stella McCartney jumpsuit, $650 vintage “found” serving spoons, a set of four cocktail napkins for $125 (with optional monogram), a $2,350 vintage Christian Dior Backgammon set, and a book called Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss.
The jeans are skinny, the tops are billowy, the fabrics are naaaahtural, and the price tags are hidden. One of those “if you have to look, you can’t afford it” things, no doubt. There was a pile of unassuming beaded bracelets on the desk in the front of the store, pointedly outside the artfully displayed glass class holding the more precious jewels. They looked like the kind of things you might find in a Bangkok street market. At Goop? They ranged in price from “5 to 7….hundred dollars,” according to the delicate sales girl.
Is it silly? Yes. Tasteful? Painfully so. Pretty? If beige tones are your thing, probably. Excessive? For most tax brackets, uh, yes.
But should we be aghast that it exists? Please.
It’s a preposterous lifestyle store in the middle of one of L.A.’s most preposterous markets. Do you know what’s next to the Goop pop-up? A “post office” that sells plain white envelopes, stamps, shipping boxes, Necco wafers, New Yorker magazines, Mr. Potato Heads, games of Scrabble, $75 Lacoste tees, $160 Barbour jackets, and $600 binoculars. It’s not reality, it’s a pristine faux-rustic fantasy playground for L.A.’s wealthiest.
Goop is no more or less offensive than anything there. Paltrow is no dummy. She knows what world Goop fits into, and she couldn’t have been more on point than plopping it down in the Brentwood Country Mart. Opening day may have been a media frenzy at the tiny shop, but on day two, it felt sleepy and lived-in, and the women browsing the store were actually shopping. On the second floor, a woman was flipping through a minimalist rack of clothing and spotted a puffy zip-up vest – the kind that you might find in an Old Navy or Prada. She hurried over to a salesperson and asked, “Is this REALLY the price?” The salesperson responded, “Yes, it is. I know. It seems like a mistake, right?”
It could have gone either way, really. Perhaps it was a $2,000 zip-up. Valuation of products suddenly seems so arbitrary when a $500 cocktail dress is hanging next to $350 shorts. (And no, this isn’t a what if. This was on the rack on the first floor.) But, it turns out that “must be a mistake” zip-up was in fact $79. A bargain to the those who can actually shop Goop. A joke to everyone else.
It’s a funny experience being in a store where anything under three digits is a downright bargain. When you come across a $25 design-your-own wooden sword kit or some $18 “lip conditioner,” it feels like you’ve stumbled on a secret treasure. (Actually, the wooden sword was pretty cool.)
But, just for kicks, we wanted to try to find the cheapest product in a store designed for the type of shoppers who do don’t have to worry about such things. And, after a highly unscientific, moderately exhaustive search, the cheapest thing there, we think, was a foot-long whisk. There was a $15 option and a $20 option.
As for what one might do with a foot-long whisk is beyond our entertainment-saddled imaginations. Goop probably knows. Any thoughts?