This is Where the (Artisanal) Magic Happens

June 20, 2016 16:43:25 Posted at June 20, 2016 16:43:25
Maria Posted by Maria

When Goop’s “cribz” edition turned up in my inbox, I was very interested to see how Casa Gwyneth would look. What’s so fun/infuriating about Goop and GP is the great personal nuggets that go beyond her workout and recipes – like an Anger Detox (courtesy of Brad’s sister, therapist Aimee Falchuk) or an oldie but a goodie “A Day in the Life…”. And while Goop is incredibly luxe, the editorial is not particularly fussy. The language is not flowery or passive, the product descriptions are not superfluous. Even if I’m not up for shopping, I am always interested in seeing who she can round up for the charity closet sale.

So when “cribz” came up, of course I was interested. I love looking at celebrity real estate, and I’m particularly interested in how people who can afford the best pieces choose to decorate their homes. Looking through the photos, I was struck by how clinical it is. It is “tasteful” in all the way décor is supposed to be tasteful (lots of white, wallpaper, marble countertops) and reserved, but also generic. Expensive obviously, but in the same way a 5-star hotel is expensive. It looks uninhabited.

Can you see the markers of how staged it is? Sticks in a vase.

A giant white coffee table book.

Lots of pillows (surely custom made).

Tapered candles that have never been used.

I would even guess that some of these pieces (maybe the rug, or some of the chairs) were brought in specifically for these photos.

I’ve had my house styled for photo shoots (you can see the results here, here, and here) and it is a process. You know how much work goes into photographing a person? Well the same goes for a home – there’s accessories and tweaking and hiding flaws and enhancing angles. The end result is supposed to be a better version of real life. Life is keys and mail on the counter and wet umbrellas by the door. This particular type of cleanliness (or emptiness) is trickery. It explains why there’s no personality to it, and no personal touches. It feels uninhabited.

So why feature a “Gwyneth” space that doesn’t talk about anything utterly Gwyneth, like an apple orchard or outdoor pizza oven? It isn’t to show off – it’s to sell. Goop is, after all, about the sell. As mentioned on Goop and in the PEOPLE Magazine follow-up, she’s unloading her New York apartment now that she is fully entrenched in LA. This isn’t Gwyneth showing off her home, this is Gwyneth trying to showcase a piece of real estate.

But if we are looking into Gwyneth Paltrow’s real home, where is the kitchen table (that hosts the Carters)? Where is the bathroom stocked with Goop products? Where is the CLOSET? Or even the bedrooms? Why talk about custom-made sheets if you aren’t going to show off your bed? While it’s certainly “feminine” and “pretty,” it’s not exciting. You could find a very similar set of photos in any home décor magazine in your dentist’s office. What could have elevated it was a good anecdote.

This is a missed opportunity for some good apartment dish – anecdotes about Gwyneth’s New York circle and all the people that adore her. I didn’t get one good eye-roll out of the whole piece. It’s like she doesn’t even care enough to troll us with a good story.

And it’s interesting that she would use Goop, her expanding empire, to sell a family apartment. Co-branded designer jumpsuits and organic lube are one thing, but it’s a little tacky to market your real estate portfolio to readers, isn’t it? It’s not really becoming of a CEO and I would imagine there’d be some low-key grumbling when the boss is using company time, and editorial space, to sell her apartment. Isn’t that what realtors are for?

Adding to the impersonal tone is that the Goop article is written in 3rd person – it’s referred to as “GP’s apartment” and the quotes are by the design team behind it. Assuming she has complete editorial control over Goop (and why wouldn’t she?), would a short intro have killed her? Or was writing her own real estate listing a bridge too far?

Or maybe selling a $12 million apartment is a headache to a wealthy person, like a normal person trying to unload a couch on Craigslist -- purely transactional. This is Gwyneth’s version of a “$250 OBO curbside pickup” negotiation.

Here's Gwyneth out in LA on the weekend. 

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