Wednesday, September 5

CB2 Teams Up With Goop to Sell Ridiculously Overpriced Chairs and Ottomans to Help Gwyneth Paltrow Offload Her New York Loft

Do you know anybody who looks like any of these people? I didn't think so.
Leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow to help me get my hate back after a perfectly lovely closing weekend of summer. With an eye toward jumping back in the swing of things post-Labor Day, I opened the mailbox to find this staring back at me — just Paltrow and a few random catalog models she'd never met before of her closest friends trying to sell me furniture. Like me, you were probably at the beach or at the racetrack or experimenting with mixing Klonopin and Campari over the last few days and missed the big news that Crate & Barrel spinoff CB2 and Paltrow's lofty lifestyle brand Goop have joined forces to market a full line of "accessibly priced," midcentury modern-inspired furniture pieces you'll absolutely never be able to afford. Forbes, Arch Digest, Fast Company and Refinery29 all heralded the news, some with a straight face but most with the invited and expected dash of snark. Even the normally celebrity-ass-kissing People, in its headline, couldn't help but note with the slightest hint of raised eyebrow the $3,000 chair being peddled — a chair that, upon further examination, presumably is not such a bad deal since it is personally signed by Paltrow. And if there's anything I want in my living room it's a chair with the star of the Sylvia Plath biopic's autograph on it. (I went on to read the lead paragraph of the People story: "Gwyneth Paltrow's new furniture line is here!" I take back what I wrote back there about the normally celebrity-ass-kissing people.) Truth be told, there are some nice things to be found here, especially if your tastes, like mine, tend toward the stark, dark and brooding (Dracula could take a few tips for his castle). A few trinkets here and there — like an $18 tea light holder and a $6 wine glass — won't exactly break the bank. And I suppose a $3,000 chair may not be all that unreasonable an investment for somebody who doesn't happen to write for a living — or come to think of it, work for a living. But, c'mon, this catalog is just the kind of thing that gets Paltrow and the Goop brand trashed for being so out of touch, a point deliciously underscored by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in her must-read profile of the actress and entrepreneur in The New York Times Magazine. As if the $3,000 chairs and $6,000 sofas and $60 shower curtains weren't enough, consider the opening to Paltrow's personal note to shoppers in the front of the catalog:

After a long day, I try to leave work behind and focus on my world at home — filled with kids, dogs, friends, my fiancĂ© and dinners. The sense of togetherness I get from having a cocktail with a friend while my son does homework on the floor is grounding and life-affirming. 

See! She has a dog and eats dinner just like you do! Her kid lies on the floor to do his homework just like yours does! She gets drunk at the end of the day just like you do! Does anybody happen to have a $900 hammered-brass spittoon with a gracefully aged patina for me to vomit into? The real dirt about this unholy union of inaccessible accessible brands can be found buried in a story on the real estate blog Curbed, which notes that many of the pieces found in the CB2xGoop catalog are inspired by Paltrow's Tribeca loft — which, oh, by the way, after being listed a couple of years ago, is still on the market for a deeply discounted $10 million. So what we learn here is that, aside from offering regular old people like you and me access to a movie star's lifestyle by way of Eames knockoffs, the CB2 partnership has the added benefit of helping Paltrow dump her pricey apartment. I guess that's what Paltrow and her disciples would call "synergy." I'll take a $40 tufted suede throw pillow before they're sold out and my chance to pass out drunk and drool on it like a real live movie star is gone forever, thanks.