Posted on: 11/15/2014

How Gwyneth Paltrows Goop Has Become a Role Model

Gwyneth Paltrow, the 42-year-old Oscar-winner, conscious-uncoupler and Tracy Anderson devotee, is changing. Ms. Paltrow is in a back room of a glass-walled apartment (not her own) high over East End Avenue, with striking views of Gracie Mansion and the East River, shedding one outfit - black leather trousers, black cashmere shell, a black biker jacket - and donning another. She is not alone; with her is Lisa Gersh, the 55-year-old owner of said apartment, a founder of Oxygen Media, the former chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Tracy Anderson devotee and, as of last month, C.E.O. of Goop, the aspirational - and controversial - lifestyle wellness-blog-cum-travel-and-cooking-tip-sheet-cum-shopping website Ms. Paltrow founded in 2008, and which Ms. Paltrow says she likes to think of as "contextual commerce." Both women are getting Gooped-up. When they emerge, Ms. Paltrow is wearing a gray boy-cut jacket with gold buttons (Goop collaboration with Band of Outsiders, 2013) and cropped gray trousers (ditto); Ms. Gersh, a black tailored jacket (Goop collaboration with Stella McCartney, 2013) and leather trousers (Goop collaboration with Mackage, 2014). They are ready for their close-up. After all, though for years Goop was a lightning rod for derisive attacks on privileged and tone-deaf celebrities or a "pleasingly wiggy" (in the words of The London Times) guilty pleasure, depending on your point of view, it has also emerged as an unlikely model for career development among a certain swathe of Hollywood. "The other day Drew Barrymore and I were talking, and she said, Thank you for going first and getting all the scratches, " Ms. Paltrow said, noting that Ms. Barrymore had started a cosmetic line, Flower, in 2012. This was not long after Jessica Alba created her site, the Honest Company, to offer natural baby products and diapers; which was only a few years before Blake Lively founded Preserve, a made-in-America crafty vision; and Ellen DeGeneres introduced her E.D. brand, an ambitious project that bowed on QVC last month with holiday home wares and will expand next year into numerous product categories, as well as a website and bricks and mortar retail; and Reese Witherspoon announced that she was starting Draper James, a lifestyle brand, due in 2015.