I know Gwyneth Paltrow as an actress, and as a rock and roll wife and mother to a couple of kids with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. I also had read that she was part of a Mario Batali foodie/travel series on PBS called Spain … On the Road Again which I probably would have watched, had it been conspicuous on any of my PBS affiliates, but for which I will not be spending $19.99 on iTunes or $35.95 on the DVD.
I did not realize until today, however, that Gwyneth Paltrow is the Thin White Next Oprah.
According to a Broadsheet post by Kate Harding at Salon.com, Ms. Paltrow is also in the lifestyle guru business via her website “GOOP,” a collection of “newsletters” offering suggestions on making, going, getting, doing, being and seeing. It is for this website that she is catching a lot of flak.
Looking at the site, which sports the slogan “nourish the inner expert,” I see a lot of minimalist white space and an assortment of Oprah-vescent tracts on various lifestyle subjects like health, for example, with miscellaneous advice on “detoxification cleansing,” or spirituality advice from Deepak Chopra and Kabbalah Centre director Michael Berg.
In her Salon piece, Harding cites a biting Daily Beast entry by Megan Hustad, who writes:
GOOP, Paltrow enthused, will encourage us to “Invest in what’s real.”
And what’s real, judging from the first GOOP newsletters, is a sugar-free diet and a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti gray pumps. The site is more about an aspirational (read: unattainable) lifestyle than helpful tips. In the current reality-based market, Gwyneth’s timing could not have been more awkward. In fact, she may have gone from a venerable fashion icon to a new irrelevancy almost overnight.
It’s all in the timing. Before the night of September 18, no one would have batted an eye at a suggestion to buy $975 Bottega Veneta riding boots. One week later, Jessica at Jezebel was comparing Paltrow to Marie Antoinette.
Oprah had the sense (and a couple of months’ time) to ratchet her Favorite Things down to match our new reality. Gwyneth Paltrow, meanwhile, may not be the most rapid responder, but she does include a $12 manners book and a $35 wine — and at least her site isn’t invitation-only.