Shine on Goop goes glossy

It be­gan with a chat be­tween Gwyneth Pal­trow and Anna Win­tour. As Goop pre­pares to go glossy, Suzanne Har­ring­ton takes an imag­i­nary look through the pages

Irish Examiner - Magazine - - Contents -

Are we ex­cited about this lat­est de­vel­op­ment — a Conde Nast glossy Goop mag­a­zine — in­spired by a chat be­tween mag­a­zine em­press Anna Win­tour and Goop’s cre­ator Gwyneth Pal­trow? Are we all set to “urge our in­ner aspect” and “shop with mean­ing” via the shiny pages of a new lady mag set to com­bine celebrity, well­ness and vagi­nal steam­ing? Or should we ap­proach its life­style ad­vice with a gi­ant pinch of pink Hi­malayan salt? Goop sells Brain Dust, Moon Dust and Sex Dust at $38 a jar — does it sell snake oil?

In terms of re­tail, Goop — named from its founder’s ini­tials — is the gift that keeps on giv­ing, pro­vid­ing you don’t ac­tu­ally want to buy any­thing. You can only “shop with mean­ing” if you have con­sid­er­able means — GP’s Picks cur­rently in­clude trousers for $898, a grey cardi for $920, and a wooden bowl or $380. For skin­flints, there’s a $26 de­odor­ant. Or you could splash out on a $2,400 spirit an­i­mal ring, or a $700 one that spells the word ‘grat­i­tude’.

De­spite sell­ing items like a sin­gle ear­ring (for the left ear) for $576, or a wooden spoon for $77, it’s not the ridicu­lous, as­pi­ra­tional re­tail which has caused ou­trage. No, it’s the bad sci­ence mas­querad­ing as health ad­vice. Goop, a “mod­ern life­style brand”, rides the crest of the tril­lion dol­lar ‘well­ness’ in­dus­try, its site promis­ing “clean beauty”, “detox” and “cut­ting edge well­ness ad­vice”. Like ap­ither­apy, where you pay to get stung by ac­tual bees to heal in­flam­ma­tion and scar­ring.

Di­vided into Shop, Be, Do, See, Make, Get, Goop high­lights have in­cluded kale, bone broth, sex bark, jade eggs, aura pho­tog­ra­phy, and IV en­ergy drips. There is a recipe for “GP’s Brain Ac­ti­vat­ing Adap­to­genic Drink”, which con­sists of a va­ri­ety of in­gre­di­ents from some­thing called Moon Pantry — $35 mush­room pro­tein, $38 brain dust, $25 maca, $25 ma­cuna pruriens (no, me nei­ther) and al­mond but­ter. The mush­room pro­tein is “crafted in small batches with the most po­tent plant alchemy on earth. Raw, whole grain brown rice is sprouted for bio-ac­tiv­ity, pro­duc­ing 20g of eas­ily as­sim­i­lated lean pro­tein. Cordy­ceps, Reishi, and To­cotrienols pro­vide en­dur­ing ben­e­fits.” Ba­si­cally, it’s a $150 smoothie made from pow­dered mush­rooms and dust.

The lat­est house per­fume, Edi­tion 02 which will set you back $165, is en­thu­si­as­ti­cally en­dorsed by GP her­self. “The in­gre­di­ents are ‘real’, and har­ness the home­o­pathic and mys­ti­cal prop­er­ties that these plants and herbs carry in the nat­u­ral world,” she said in a press re­lease.

“It smells amaz­ing, but also chan­nels other pow­ers, like joy, heal­ing, and clair­voy­ance.” Which is quite a claim for a squirt of per­fume, but en­tirely in keep­ing with the over­all tone of mis­lead­ing hy­per­bole — along­side ar­ti­cles for wealthy mum­mies on how to do Paris with

kids, recipes for shiso nori salad rolls, strength­en­ing the “re­siliency mus­cle”, dry brush­ing, and the ins and outs of anal sex, Goop is home to a whole heap of new age quack­ery.

So bad is Goop sci­ence that a Cana­dian health law pro­fes­sor, Ti­mothy Caulfield, has writ­ten a book ti­tled Is Gwyneth Pal­trow Wrong About Ev­ery­thing?: When Celebrity Cul­ture & Sci­ence Clash. He is not im­pressed with the idea of de­tox­ing, an ac­tiv­ity which Pal­trow and the Goop team un­der­take each Jan­uary.

“The hu­man body has or­gans — the liver, kid­neys, skin and colon — that take care of the detox­i­fi­ca­tion process. Tox­ins don’t build up wait­ing to be cleansed by sup­ple­ments and spe­cial foods,” he writes. “No ev­i­dence sug­gests that the prod­ucts sold by the cleans­ing in­dus­try do any­thing to help clear tox­ins, par­a­sites or bad karma in a man­ner ben­e­fi­cial to your health.” In­stead, he rec­om­mends the Caulfield Cleanse: “Step One: Cleanse your sys­tem of all the pseu­do­science bab­ble that flows from many celebri­ties, celebrity physi­cians and the diet in­dus­try.” There is no Step Two.

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