On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Oscar-winning actor turned wellness advocate, appeared in a Utah court over a collision at a ski resort in 2016. Photographs of Paltrow sitting next to her defence lawyers, wearing a simple cream knitted jumper, her honey-coloured hair loose, makeup pared back, quickly went viral.
Paltrow’s high-necked jumper appears to be from the Italian luxury brand Loro Piana. Nicknamed “Uniqlo for billionaires” by fashion insiders, it specialises in cashmere, with Paltrow’s Parksville turtleneck priced at €1,350 online.
For the second day of her trial, Paltrow was pictured in another cream knit, this time from her own brand, G Label by Goop, which sells for a tad under €500. Then she appeared in a moss green wool coat from the US brand The Row (€4,400), black lug-soled boots from Prada (€1,300) and G Label by Goop gold chain jewellery.
Paltrow’s court wardrobe reflects a wider trend for stealth wealth – clothes that murmur rather than loudly declare their value. Free from garish logos, colourways and patterns, these pieces are redolent of a new low-key luxury.
“These brands are easily recognised by members of their tribe,” says Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a research group in New York.
“The wearer makes a statement without having to try to make a statement. Everyone who should know, knows."
Loro Piana has become somewhat of a market leader for this quiet luxury aesthetic. It’s worn by real life billionaires (Rishi Sunak, a near billionaire, is said to be a fan) and scions of on-screen billionaires.
In this week’s opening episode of season four of the HBO drama Succession, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) wore a custom-made suede jacket from the Italian heritage brand. Kendall’s ascetic boardroom style is the antithesis of his social-climbing brother-in-law Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), known for his chinos and puffy Moncler vest.
Michelle Matland, the show’s costume designer, previously described Tom’s style as “being like a peacock. He goes to the obvious stores and his motto is: ‘If it’s expensive, it’s good’,” says Matland. “And if you can see that price tag, even better … Kendall was bred to know the difference and Tom is just walking into it.”
By contrast, Paltrow’s court wardrobe has an old money feel. Its soft power dressing is more reminiscent of Succession’s Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook). In choosing to not wear something more formal – remember Rebekah Vardy’s rotation of power suits and designer handbags for her libel case last year? – Paltrow implies she is so wealthy she doesn’t need to overstress about the lawsuit, and she doesn’t care who knows it.
The non-threatening aesthetic also jars with the allegation – which Paltrow denies – that she injured another skier and then blithely skied away. Even the more tailored pieces she has chosen have a benign appeal. Her grey blazer and matching trousers were oversized and slouchy, softened further by pairing with a thin ribbed knitted top instead of a standard shirt, while a longer-length black skirt was paired with a cashmere-collared button-down.
And we’ve seen the informal look before. It’s Paltrow’s go-to when she takes to Instagram to promote her favourite depuffing eye mask or sex-boosting supplement. It’s the type of thing you can imagine she would wear to the farmer’s market to pick up ingredients for a midweek (macrobiotic) family supper.
Familiar, gentle and approachable, it says: “Yes, I’m a multimillionaire A-lister who skis at an expensive resort”, but also: “I’m a mom who enjoys bashing the slopes with my kids at the weekend.” Knitwear and lug-soled footwear are relatable, especially to a Colorado-based jury.
- The Guardian