Yesterday, Gwyneth Paltrow debuted the first item in her new Goop-label clothing line, and as happens whenever Goop releases something high-profile, her efforts were greeted with excitement by some, mockery by others.
The first outfit in the collection is pretty standard Gwyneth, a conservative classic with a twist: a chambray button-down shirt and a white tote, and a gray tweed suit with a tie-belt and culotte-cut pants. The outfit costs about $1,500.00 altogether, so of course some critics howled at that, though it’s not exactly unusual for Goop (or similar companies) to sell outfits at that price point on its site (they’ve been collaborating on clothes with designers for years; this is the first Goop private-label release).
The items in her new clothing line will all be inspired by items in her own closet, which immediately made me wonder how Goop will avoid design plagiarism claims (I also wondered this when Kate Moss helped create a collection for Topshop inspired by her own closet).
But the Goop-iest part of all this is actually the way the brand is rolling out the items–just a few at a time. She isn’t releasing a whole collection. When GP launched her site back in 2008, she didn’t do what every one else was doing and start a blog: She started a weekly newsletter, instead. The website was basically a newsletter archive. Newsletter-first editorial projects are super common these days, but back when GP did it, it was pretty new. I remember thinking it was perhaps a little old-school and unsavvy at the time–newsletters were definitely in a downswing then. I was wrong.
Each week, she only posted a little bit of content. A few years later, once she had built up a big email list, she ventured into product, selling only one design collaboration at a time. The first physical product she sold was not, philosophically, much different than the first Goop private-label pieces that came out yesterday–that first item she sold in 2012 was a basic white T-shirt embellished with some piping on the sleeves. The price? $90. And its small run sold out. Goop continued to come out with just a few or even one product collaboration at a time for the next eight years. It also came out with a small skincare line earlier this year.
Coming out with her new private-label collection this slowly and carefully, in small batches, every few weeks (a few new pieces will be released on a monthly basis), presumably in part to test the waters (though they probably have a lot of data about what sells and what doesn’t by now), is very Goop. What will October bring? Hunter Boots in GP’s favorite shade of “Goop Gray”? A white cable-knit sweater with a daring bespoke button on it? A straight-jacket made modern with herringbone wool? Anything is possible. You never quite know when GP is being serious or when she’s expertly playing us like violins.