Our Visit to Goop (or, Let Them Eat Tiny Toast)
Gwyneth Paltrow, one of Amagansett’s most famous summer residents — known to her employees and the Goop cognoscenti as “G.P.” — has opened a pop-up boutique for her online Goop lifestyle journal and e-commerce empire in the historic Schellinger farmhouse at 145 Main Street. Some readers might remember when the farmhouse, which dates to 1763 (but was described in the Goop press-preview invitation as “a hundred-year-old cottage”), was preserved a decade ago with nearly $1 million in community preservation fund money. It is one of the last surviving relics of Amagansett’s agrarian past.
The company calls the retail venture, which will remain open through the third week of August, a “shopping installation,” under the official moniker “goop MRKT.”
EAST was invited to a weekday brunch there in late June, to have a look at Goop’s wares and see how the interiors have been transformed by the Charles & Co. Design Studio, which also does design and development for SoHo House.
The shop, or MRKT, is entered by a pretty little pillow-strewn porch on the west side of the building. Near the sales counter are beauty and wellness products, all handsomely packaged (the packaging and presentation obviously being key to Goop's curation process). The infamous rose-quartz vaginal-insertion "yoni egg" ($55) — "Please be sure to follow the instructions included with your egg,” cautions the website — sits on a shelf by the door, among sunscreens, cleansers, face oils, exfoliants, etc. There is an “energy clearing kit” ($195) with California white sage and a feather fan for smudging; the "Goop Medicine Bag," which is a pouch of semiprecious stones “inspired by the shaman’s medicine bag from various indigenous traditions”; something called Brain Dust ($30), which you stir into hot or cold beverages to "align" yourself "with the mighty cosmic flow"; and vitamin-and-fish-oil packs labeled “Why Am I So Effing Tired?," as well as signature perfumes (spicy for summer, fireside-smoky for winter), candles, and essential oils.
The selection of bikinis, maillots, and rash guards is monochrome-minimalist with a little twist here and there, like a bikini with an off-the-shoulder Daisy Mae of Dogpatch top. A side room is stocked with outdoorsy stuff: brass gardening snips, wide-brimmed panama hats, and a rough-stitched thick leather strap specially made for those who like accessories so much they would buy a fancy artisan-made leather strap just for the hands-free carrying of a picnic blanket or beach towel.
The space is done up in a tastefully low-key palette of flax, sand, wheat, and linen, with pale paintwork and sisal floor mats. There is a lot of straw: straw baskets, straw totes, straw clutches. The clothing and accessories are in a familiar après-yoga mode of chic that will appeal to cotton-caftan-wearing customers of other popular Amagansett boutiques like Destination Haus, Pink Chicken, and Love, Adorned: a kind of minimalist-slash-earthy luxe that is less exuberant than, say, Calypso St. Barth’s rainbow-tribe bohemianism-for-billionaires and more playful than, say, Ralph Lauren’s Connecticut-Yankees-on-safari resort gear. The price-points are expensive, but — in the South Fork context — not outrageous.
Eli Zabar, the Manhattan-based bakery, specialty foods, and restaurant chain that was bounced from the Amagansett Farmers Market two years ago to make way for local operators and local farmers, has made its return to the hamlet with, at the back of the shop, a tableful of Zabar’s breads and heirloom tomatoes grown on the rooftops of various Zabar locations in the city. The breads and tomatoes are to be trucked out to Goop’s rustic doorstep daily.
In the garden, Lalanne-like sheep and an apricot tree — with fruit attached via sticks and twine, so guests could play at picking. Photograph by Nina Channing. Exterior photo at top, courtesy Goop, Inc.
Brunch turned out to be a stand-up affair outside on the grass, featuring lilliputian avocado toasts and lox-and-bagel bites of a size reminiscent of the doll-house dinner in Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Two Bad Mice. Our EAST attendees felt rather like the two bad mice themselves as they partook heartily of the hors d'oeuvres and cold drinks; a rhubarb and strawberry spritzer, with a rhubarb swizzle stick, was served in a Ball jar. The conversation was of toxins and organic S.P.F. Someone wondered aloud if the tiny size of toasts and bagels was the answer to the question "Why Am I So Effing Tired?"
The rear garden was designed by Miranda Brooks, well known in Vogue circles as a landscape designer. Knee-high wool-and-wood sheep, like those made by Lalanne, and ankle-high toy lambs dotted the lawn, setting a tone of whimsy that reminded some guests of Marie Antoinette’s capers, dresses as a shepherdess, at Hameau de la Reine. Everyone was invited to pick apricots from potted apricot trees heavily laden with ripe fruit; when they approached bearing pint boxes to pick, they observed that the apricots had been tied to the trees with small sticks and twine. “It’s the Magical Apricot Tree,” said a friendly waiter standing by, maintaining a poker-face.
A pair of raised garden beds at the back of the building had been very recently planted with herbs. A row of young espaliered fruit trees had been freshly installed along the eastern property line, adjoining the hardware store next door, but it is doubtful that any real fruit will actually grow on them before the pop-up closes in late August.