Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop launched its very own clothing line today, goop Label. Even though both Vanity Fair and the NY Times are calling it Goop Label. You know what’s annoying about a brand with a lower case name, “goop”? It’s hard to find consistency in the way it’s presented. On the goop website, goop is almost always styled as “goop”. Sometimes though, as a heading, it’s block capitals, like GOOP. But when other people are writing about goop, the upper case “G” is applied. Because it looks weird to most people to have a proper name not begin with a capital. This might seem like a lot of words about one word and no big deal but shouldn’t it be a big deal when Gwyneth’s professional focus right now is building her brand? The first thing about a brand is the name of the brand.
Anyway, goop Label’s first collection is four pieces – a blazer, matching culottes, a chambray shirt, and a tote. The chambray shirt is already sold out as she told the NY Times that “only dozens are available” and won’t be restocked when they sell out. “I’m worried that we underordered by a lot,” she follows presciently. But during the interview, she also explains that everything is new to her.
“I’ve always really taken my time with goop. You have to understand: I am on the steepest learning curve of my life. Every day that I’m here, I’m learning what I don’t know, which is tons.”
What she’s always known, however, is that she’s the headline. And while she keeps fronting like she doesn’t want to be, that her “celebrity” is often used to undermine her “entrepreneurialism”, she understands exactly when to dangle that “celebrity” element when she’s boosting her business. Like this description of what went into the design of the clothes:
“I have kept an archive of my most influential fashion pieces, things that came to mean something to me,” she said with a smile. “It encompasses a lot of different time periods, lovers, countries.”
So, like, what she wore during her most gossipy moments? Sure. You’re just not allowed to express it that way. Gwyneth, the chief creative officer, speaks in “analytics” now. She’s secured a $10 million investment from three venture capital firms. She’s quadrupled her workforce in 2 years. goop still isn’t making money but the company is showing steady growth year over year. So… no more acting then? I quite like her answer about that:
“It’s something, to be totally honest, that I’m still wrestling with, because acting was such a huge part of my identity, and I don’t know what it means if I fully stop. What does it do to my perception of myself as an artist and as a woman?”
I think of Jessica Alba too as a companion to these comments. Jessica’s The Honest Company is operating on a much bigger scale than goop, valued at over a billion dollars. And yet, Jessica Alba is still making Mechanic movies. Hollywood fame and success is so maddeningly powerful, isn’t it? Almost as though no other success compares to that spotlight.
Gwyneth, though, sounds like she’s trying to match that because while she admits to feeling conflicted about giving up that part of her life, she also claims to enjoy a certain fulfillment in her business that she never did as a performer:
“It’s definitely a weird move, and I understand why people are curious. All I know is that I feel so incredibly on fire here at goop, in ways that I don’t think I ever felt when I was acting.”
What’s interesting to me here is that it SHOULDN’T be weird, this “move”, to transition from a place that was never meant to last, a place built on betrayal and broken promises, that grants dreams on loan and then takes them away, to a space that she can control on her own – for most people, that’s not weird, it’s smart. It’s the logical “move”, except when you’re moving away from Hollywood, the one toxic place that no one wants to leave.