Carol O’Callaghan.


The Gwyneth Paltrow touch: Lifestyle shop takes interior design to new level of affluence

The Goop Lab, sprung from Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, in California takes interior design to a new level of affluence, writes Carol O’Callaghan.

The Gwyneth Paltrow touch: Lifestyle shop takes interior design to new level of affluence

Remember Kylie’s foray into bed linen design and her sequined, trimmed duvet cover? You certainly would if you had owned one, and woke to find a pock-like pattern on your cheek in the morning. Then there was the matter of finding a clump of sequences blocking the vacuum cleaner hose like pine needles after Christmas.

It’s become big business for celebrities to break into interiors, giving us lesser mortals a glimpse into their taste, how they live, and their personal flair for design, something which seems to come automatically with being in a girl band or soap opera.

Higher up the celebrity scale, right to the A-listers, I’ll bet you didn’t know Brad Pitt had a latent furniture-designing streak? Apparently, he was busy doodling tables and chairs when resting between films, possibly even takes, and is now in partnership with US bespoke furniture makers Pollaro.

Gwyneth Paltrow, the clean-eating, clean-living advocate, doesn’t so much as organise or even style her home but ‘curates’ its contents, and has invited us, since 2008 on her blog Goop, to do the same, with inevitable and irresistible therapeutic retail opportunities.

But now comes her real-life shop, Goop Lab, designed in collaboration with — rather than by, we’re told — New York interior designers Roman and Williams.

It’s a new phase in a long-standing relationship which has already seen them work on Paltrow’s homes, including her California bungalow, the interior design of which is mirrored in the shop layout.

Both are located in Brentwood, a district where New Age meets affluence; where the ubiquitous US shopping mall goes by the chi-chi moniker ‘mart’, and carries all the organic wholesomeness which that represents.

Products are ‘clean’, we’re told, so no nasty chemicals in the lotions and potions which are displayed so fetchingly , and the furniture is made from ethically sourced sustainable woods, all of which come at a price. Take the humble compost bin on offer, set to swiftly clean out your wallet at around €200.

But certainly everything is practical, although the apothecary section, which delivers the promise of herbal concoctions to soothe the body, also carries the hallmarks of medieval quackery.

I’m decidedly partial to a bit of hocus-pocus myself — crystals and rose quartz simply rock — but I’d stop short of a mist spray bearing the name ‘Psychic Vampire Repellent’, retailing at around €25, handy though it might have been during the trick or treat season.

Back to the shop itself, Paltrow and her interior design collaborators have offered something novel, creating a shopping experience akin to visiting a house — Paltrow’s house in this case — and which might explain why Goop Lab staff do not refer to their customers as customers, but as guests.

Spread over 1,300 sq ft, the space is laid out with a living room where walls have custom-made coverings in rich cobalt blue with arty daubs of magenta, and where an outsize day bed in velvety dove grey contrasts with pared back, black leather easy chairs with a mid-century vibe.

It’s the aspirational stylish home, uncluttered yet comfortably inviting, but where the finishing touches in accessories happen to be handbags in the fireplace and shoes on the mantelpiece. It is, after all, a retail experience.

The kitchen is fully functioning, with an ivory-hued and brass La Canche range intended for cooking demos by Goop blog food editors, no doubt using recipes featured in Gwyneth’s latest cookbook, It’s All Good: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook, copies of which are stacked temptingly around the space.

Cabinetry is finished in flat grey, with open shelves displaying kitchen must-haves and luxuries, including bowls, cookbooks, glassware, tableware, and dinner party essentials like candlesticks, chargers, and water jugs. A white, dusky pink, cream, and pewter colourway is subtly offset by a background of dusty grey wainscoting.

The whole set-up is appealing, where the vocabulary of interior style is as exclusive has the product offering and the manner in which it’s offered. Instead of kitchen shelves, we’re presented with étagères; an apothecary instead of a beauty section; bungalow rather than shop; where everything is curated rather than organised.

So, just in case you can’t get to Brentwood, California, for the real thing, have the vicarious experience by unloading the dishwasher onto your étagères. Me? I’m off to curate my laundry basket.

Pop-up shop

Products by Muubs include a café latte spoon (€7), coffee spoon (€10), and a chopping board (€24).
Products by Muubs include a café latte spoon (€7), coffee spoon (€10), and a chopping board (€24).

The Danish embassy and Arnotts get together next week to introduce the notion of ‘hygge’, the feeling of cosiness and comfort which is synonymous with Scandinavian wellbeing.

The Danish Collective, it manifests as a pop-up shop showing a selection of craft brands that might just help tick a few items off the Christmas shopping list.

Pick from design houses, including Holmegaard glass — crafted for nearly 200 years, and includes carafes, candlesticks, Christmas decorations, retro ceramics and stoneware. Wooden figures and tablewares from JUST by Rikki Tikki are another option, as is furniture by Muubs. The Danish Collective runs at Arnotts from November 15 to December 29.

Bits and pieces

Looking for some home interiors items to stuff a grown-up Christmas stocking or a gift bag? Avoca has it covered.

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