Fears surrounding the coronavirus has led to the shortage of sanitizers globally, prompting many brands to begin producing hand sanitizer in an effort to help with the deficit. Estee Lauder is the latest company to switch from cosmetics to hand sanitizer, following beauty and fashion conglomerates L’Oreal and LVMH.
According toWWD, Estee Lauder is planning to reopen its manufacturing factory located in Melville, NY to produce hand sanitizer for medical staff. Lauder’s announcement comes on the heels of the company pledging to donate a $2 million grant to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, to support the organization’s work in treating the coronavirus in countries that lack the resources and have been severely impacted.
“The Estée Lauder Companies is proud to contribute to the broader COVID-19 relief efforts by reopening our Melville manufacturing facility this week to produce hand sanitizer for high-need groups and populations, including front-line medical staff,” a spokesperson for the company told the outlet. “We are grateful to our employees who have worked tirelessly to make this possible. Compensated, employee volunteers will support this vital, meaningful effort.”
Fellow beauty behemoth L’Oreal announced last week that it would be producing hand sanitizer for hospitals and pharmacies in Europe, in addition to halting all debts owed to them by small and medium-sized businesses due to the pandemic.
“In this exceptional crisis situation it is our responsibility to contribute in every possible way to the collective effort,” Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Through these gestures, L’Oréal wishes to express its appreciation, support, and solidarity with all those who mobilize with extraordinary courage and abnegation to fight against this pandemic.”
While the coronavirus has upended the entire world, the fashion industry is feeling the effects hard. Over the past few weeks, the novel coronavirus outbreak has caused brands to shut down stores indefinitely, including Nike, Reformation, Everlane, Net-a-porter, and more, and post-poned the annual star-studded Met Gala event, which usually takes place in May.
But as the world grapples with a new reality, a slew of fashion powerhouse brands are pivoting from producing clothes to manufacturing protective masks, gowns, and other supplies to help combat the spread of the virus. To keep track of all the latest happenings, we’ve compiled a list of how fashion heavyweights are responding to the pandemic. Check back here for updates.
After shutting down its website, Net-a-porter announced on Tuesday, March 31, it will be utilizing the vehicles that usually deliver its fashion to deliver food and supplies to seven charities in London. The vans will read, “Fashion that delivers” and will also deliver to the elderly people throughout London.
“Now, more than ever, the primary focus of our colleagues and customers is the well-being of relatives, friends and communities. Reflecting our core sustainability priorities, the group hopes that the redistribution of these resources will help to make a difference in London,” the company said, per WWD.
On Tuesday, March 31, Revolve announced on its Instagram that it will donate 10,000 N95 FDA-approved face masks to two Los Angeles hospitals. The brand also procured 20,000 additional masks to put aside for other healthcare workers, and called upon its influencers and followers to spread the word to frontline workers in need of protective gear.
“Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines risking their lives to save ours, and are often doing so without adequate protective equipment,” the brand said in a statement. “Revolve’s mission for this initiative is to do anything we can to support our sisters and brothers, and hope to be able to make donations in the future.
Nordstrom is teaming up with one of its partners, Kaas Tailored, to have members of its Nordstrom Alterations teams in Washington, Oregon, Texas, and California produce 100,000 masks to be donated to Providence Health & Services in Washington. Nordstrom will also offer additional support to Seattle Foundation, YouthCare, and Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI).
If you buy a gift card, Nordstrom will donate one percent of the sale to “annual community cash grants and support organizations that provide basic necessities for kids and families which includes things like access to health care, housing, food and education,” the brand said in a press release.
Sandro will provide support to hospital staff in France and around Europe and will make 10,000 cloth masks using excess fabric from past collections. Starting on March 30, Sandro will deliver 1,000 masks to the Aulnay-sous-Bois French hospital with an additional 2,000 masks to be delivered in the coming days. Sandro will deliver the remaining masks to other hospitals throughout Europe and 3,000 masks to NYU hospital in the U.S.
Calzedonia Group is converting it plants to produce medical masks and gowns using special machinery the brand purchased. The brand predicts it will be able to produce up to 10,000 masks per day, with that number increasing in the coming weeks.
Vera Bradley announced it will use its own fabric, which is used to create handbags and accessories, to produce masks for essential workers, and work alongside its supplier to procure protective gear such as masks and scrubs.
“Our Company and Associates are honored to be able to contribute to the cause during this difficult and challenging time,” Rob Wallstrom, CEO of Vera Bradley, said in statement. “Our hearts go out to all affected by COVID-19 and to the courageous people serving on the front lines in our communities. We’re proud to be able to pivot our operations, lend a helping hand, and create a product with so much purpose.”
Burberry announced on its website that it would be dedicating significant time, money, and resources to helping with the COVID-19 global pandemic. The company said in a statement on its site that it is going to “retool” its Yorkshire-based trench coat factory to make non-surgical gowns and masks and is facilitating the delivery of more than 100,000 surgical masks to U.K. National Health Service (NHS) staff. The company also said it is donating to charities across the country and funding University of Oxford research for a single-dose vaccine.
“In challenging times, we must pull together,” Burberry’s CEO, Marco Gobbetti, said, in part. “The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”
Kate Spade New York
On March 28, Kate Spade announced on its Instagram that the brands at Tapestry, through the Coach Foundation, would be donating $2 million to New York City’s small business continuity fund. The post added that the money was “for all the small businesses in NYC that make our hometown so incredibly special, and right now need some extra love and support. we appreciate each one of you, we’re here for you and we can’t wait to see you again soon.”
Bvlgari announced that it will manufacture thousands of hand sanitizers to be distributed to medical facilities throughout Italy. The hand gels will be created in 75ml recyclable bottles with plans to produce more in the upcoming months.
“I believe as a major economic actor and symbol of Italy, Bvlgari has a responsibility to contribute to the national effort to help prevent, fight and eradicate Covid-19. Thanks to our fragrances expertise we have been able to develop together with ICR a ‘hand cleansing gel with sanitizer’ which will be manufactured in our Lodi Factory already making our high-end perfumes and hotel amenities,” Jean-Christophe Babin, Bvlgari CEO, said in a statement. “Aware of the difficult situation we are experiencing, we believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities.”
Kim Kardashian West is using her upcoming Skims Solutionwear restock to support corona relief. Skims pledged to donated $1 million to those affected by the virus.
“To support mothers and children in need during this time, SKIMS is committed to donating $1M to families affected by COVID-19,” KKW said in a press release. “On Monday, we’re restocking the collection we first launched with, and in doing so, are able to help bring relief to those affected by this pandemic. I am so grateful to all of you who have supported SKIMS since we first started 6 months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and has only been possible because of your love for what we do. Our six-month anniversary has fallen in the middle of a Global crisis so more than ever, it’s our responsibility to give back and do what we can to help others.”
Uniqlo has partnered with its manufacturing companies in China to procure 10 million masks to donate to high-priority hospitals around the world. One million masks will be donated to Italy and another million will be donated to Japan. In addition to the masks, Uniqlo is also providing healthcare workers with their signature Heattech and Airism clothing. “The company will continue to give assistance where needed, and as the situation evolves,” the brand said in a statement.
H&M will use its facilities to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to be donated to hospitals and health care workers working on the frontline.
“The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organizations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation,” Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a press release. “We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible.”
The first few days of self-quarantine, I’ll admit that shopping was the last thing on my mind. I barely even shrugged off my robe or ran a brush through my hair. I just felt tired and sad. But it’s time to look up, stay positive, and encourage others to do the same, while practicing safe mental and physical health, of course. Throw on a feel-good WFH shirt — you might even make it onto the @wfhfits account if you really put your effort into styling a look. And if this puts you in the mood to shop, then please do it responsibly.
Instead of making a big, unnecessary splurge, think about supporting small brands that are giving back to communities around the world. We vow to do the same and promise to continue updating this page with news we hear about. Right now, labels like Aritzia, Loup, The Frankie Shop, and Heartloom are donating anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of proceeds to organizations like No Kid Hungry and Food Bank For New York City. This is a time to reassess our daily activities and be good to ourselves. If you’re shopping, do your research and make sure it’s for a good purpose. Scroll through for some of our recommendations, and let us know if there are any fashion companies missing from our list. We’re all ears!
Jennifer Lopez was meant to be in her hometown of New York City today, where she was going to launch her new (and very good) footwear collection with DSW. Instead, like many of us, the hottest woman in the world is working from home. In her case, that means calling me from her house in LA, where the sounds of her laughing twins (Emme and Max, 12) echo in the background.
“If I sound out of breath, it’s not because I’m sick,” she vows. “It’s because I’m working out!” (Weight training, FYI.) “My [DSW] sneakers have quite a lift in them, actually,” she says. “You know the sneakers with the really sick bottoms, like Balenciaga? That’s the kind I like. I mean, I’ll always take an extra half an inch if I can get it. Absolutely.”
We think of J.Lo as a stiletto icon—the bedazzled platforms in Hustlers, the nude pumps in TheWedding Planner, the 5-inch sandals she throws into the ocean singing, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” But the high school track star insists “I was a tomboy growing up. And even when I was a dancer in my late teens and early 20s, it was all about Doc Martens, Timberlands, and combat boots. And I’m from the Bronx, so I’m kind of a born sneakerhead—where I come from, your sneakers say a lot about you. It’s a big deal, what kind you’re wearing, how you style them. So sneakers are a big part of the new line. Believe it or not, I do wear them a lot.”
I ask about the first time she danced in heels. “Probably when I was about 16? I went to my junior prom,” she laughs, “And back then, you dyed your heels to match your dress. You got these satiny shoes and you sent them out to get dyed so they’d be the same color as your gown, and that was so grown up. That was the way to do it when you were from the Bronx and going to prom back then, and I was like, ‘I am not taking these off, they’re amazing.’ So I made it through the whole dance with my heels on, but in the limo afterwards, I think I took them off. You’re with your girls, and you make your date hold them.”
Ginger Rogers famously said, “I can do everything [Fred Astaire] does, but I do it backwards and in heels.” Lopez has a similar reaction, and describes her first professional dance gigs (including—fun fact—an early ’90s gig dancing for New Kids on the Block) as “being thrown to the sharks and learning how to swim” because of the teetering heels involved. “But the more practice you put in, the better you get,” she says, “Which is true for everything—if you want to do something, you’ve got to practice. And this is the time to do it. You have time, go practice what’s important to you, or something you’ve been meaning to learn. Even if it’s walking better in your heels!”
Ah yes, we do have time—even the famously busy J. Lo. “We’re all stuck at home right now,” she confirms. “I am! Everybody’s quarantined and the world is upside-down and crazy. So we’ve gotta make lemonade out of lemons right now, don’t we? We have to find ways to focus and work from home, but also finding things to keep our spirits high. I don’t know anything that makes me happier than shopping for a pair of shoes. To be honest with you? I think there’s a lot of online shopping going on right now. And that’s not to make light of this very serious situation, and the people working very hard to stop it. But we have to stay human and we have to keep our sense of humor in hard times, as well.”
Okay, so even J. Lo is self-isolating. But what exactly does ‘work from home’ mean when you’re a global icon? “There’s so much to do, right?” She laughs. “This situation, if we’re lucky enough to be healthy—and if you are, be grateful—but if you’re healthy and home, it’s a real reset button for so many of us. To be honest, for me, working from home is reading scripts, developing new projects, even working out and learning new dance routines. Because now, you can use the time to prepare. At some point, hopefully soon, we’re going to bounce back. We always bounce back. And so we need to use this time to get ready to come back even better… Nobody wanted this to happen, but if it has to be this way, you can take advantage of the time and work to get better. But do that work from home,” she says firmly. “This is such a difficult time for everybody. There are so many people who are sick. We just want to contain it and work from home. Even my kids are working from home and they’re 12! They’ve got virtual school now, and we’re all home together, which I’m really happy about. To me, there’s no greater luxury than getting to spend real time with my kids.”
And PS, the kids are why she went viral on TikTok. “They love it, so they’re always encouraging me to use it. They love when I do! But for me, I swear, TikTok isn’t a social media app, it’s a dance app. You click around, you find a new move you want to learn, and you do it. You can do it with your kids, you can do it with your parents or your friends. If you’re stuck at home right now, you can go on TikTok and practice dancing, which is always something that makes your mood better. I’m all about it.”
As we’re talking, a Wall Street Journal story pops up on Twitter. It’s not about COVID-19 or the Democratic Primaries, but about J. Lo herself. The headline blares, “Can Women Really Look Like J.Lo At 50?” and I don’t know, so I ask her.
“The Wall Street Journal?!” she exclaims. “I mean, that’s amazing… I’ll tell you what I wish I’d known about being 50 when I was younger: It’s not over. When I was in my 20s, I don’t know what I thought about being 50 except that it was basically just the end. I didn’t think I’d be in the best shape of my life. I didn’t think I’d be able to say that in a way, my career is taking off, even though I’ve been going for a long time, you know? I have so much experience now. I have the knowledge that, if I use it, is a huge advantage. The narrative women are told is that you’re kind of put out to pasture at a certain age. And what I’ve found is that it’s the total opposite. If you keep working hard and pushing yourself, you can be better as a person physically, mentally, emotionally. Stop asking, ‘Will I look like that?’ and just ask, ‘What do I want to do next?’ Because you can make it happen, you know? And nobody ever told me that.”
But first: stay home and practice walking in heels.
At Thursday’s House Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Katie Porter came armed with a whiteboard, black dry erase marker, and a deep understanding of coronavirus testing.
After revealing the potential costs associated with seeking COVID-19 testing, the Democratic representative from California extracted a commitment from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield to make it free for every U.S. citizen “regardless of insurance.”
“People are getting sick, and several Americans have already lost their lives,” Porter told ELLE.com. “We need strong leadership, and we needed it weeks ago when this first started to become an issue. I’m glad that as I continued to press him, he was able to get to ‘yes’ on committing to make the testing free, but now we need follow through more than anything.”
Porter, an attorney who studied law under Elizabeth Warren at Harvard, is known for her dogged questioning and for holding accountable the people that come before the committee. She said she started preparing for Thursday’s hearing as soon as it was announced last week by doing research and thinking about what kinds of questions working families might have for the high-level officials. Then, Porter drafted a list of potential topics for questioning and narrowed them down to the three talking points, knowing she would have just five minutes for questioning.
She looked for relevant facts and figures, read up on the latest news, and consulted academic literature. The best way to get her point across, she believed, was a strong visual to show what the cost would mean for working families.
So, at the hearing, she outlined the costs of coronavirus testing on a whiteboard. She tallied up the $1,331 total with a marker, later tweeting: “I did the math.”
Then, Porter turned her attention to Redfield. She wanted to know: Would he commit to using a provision in federal administrative law to make coronavirus testing free for every American?
“Do you want to know who has the coronavirus and who doesn’t? Not just rich people, but everybody who might have the virus?” Porter asked him.
“Well,” he replied, “I can say we’re going to do everything to make sure everybody can get the care they…”
Porter interrupted: “Not good enough.”
“I’m going to review it in detail with the CDC and the department,” he replied.
The back and forth lasted a full five minutes before Redfield waved the white flag.
“I think you’re an excellent questioner,” Redfield acquiesced, “so my answer is yes.”
His agreement, as Porter told ELLE.com, is to use an “existing regulation that allows the government to pay for the care and treatment of individuals subject to medical examination, quarantine, isolation, and conditional release.” She says she told Redfield he could “operationalize the payment structure as soon as today,” but hasn’t heard back from his office yet.
The CDC did not respond to ELLE.com’s request for comment to confirm that it would follow through, but Porter remains optimistic.
“I was glad he agreed to make that commitment, and now, I’m going to see to it that he follows through,” she says. “Promises are great, but action is better.”
This isn’t the first time Porter has demonstrated her ability to ask concise and trenchant questions during a grilling. Last April, she stumped multimillionaire JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a House Financial Services Committee with the question: “How are workers supposed to make ends meet?
One month later, she asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson about foreclosure properties during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. “I’d also like you to get back to me if you don’t mind to explain the disparity in REO rates,” Porter said to Carson. “Do you know what an REO is?”
He thought she was talking about Oreos.
“My pro tip is to remember to actually ask a question,” Porter says. “That’s the only way you’re going to get an answer from these witnesses.”
Italy has been hit hard with COVID-19. As of Thursday, the New York Times reported 17,000-plus cases in the country, with more than 13,000 of those cases cropping up in the past week. While people all over the country are in isolation in their homes, they are finding ways to keep each other in good spirits: singing.
This week, Italians have been posting videos on Twitter of neighbors across the country consoling each other with song, some patriotic, others pop favorites, from their balconies.
One Twitter user wrote: “Italians in lockdown all over Italy are keeping each other company by singing, dancing, and playing music from the balconies. A thread to celebrate the resilience of ordinary people. This is Salerno.”
And there are more.
Here’s a video from Naples:
Here’s one out of Siena:
The macarena always comes in handy:
Here’s another from someone who clearly likes the song “I Love You Baby”:
The singing began after Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced severe restrictions to aim to control the virus and keep it from spreading further. At the time of Conte’s announcements on March 9, the death toll in the country had climbed to 463 people; overwhelmingly these numbers were elderly or sick residents.
People who need to travel the country for work, health, or extenuating circumstances need permission to do so, per the restrictions, the Times reported. Per The Guardian, Italians have also been trying to spread their slogan of reassurance, “Andrà tutto bene,” which means “everything will be alright.”
These spirit-lifting efforts in Italy are similar to those in China, where people have shouted the phrase “jiāyóu” from their balconies. The phrase translates literally as “add oil” and means “keep up the fight.” Here you can hear the phrase being repeated in Wuhan:
COVID-19 is in the U.S. now, and there are plenty of good resources you can read to understand how it’s affecting Americans and their communities. You should definitely stay informed while practicing the social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but there are also some actions you can take to help those who are most vulnerable right now.
People are under an unusual amount of stress during this time. The CDC notes that people could be experiencing sleeplessness, trouble concentrating, or worsening chronic health conditions just from the amount of pressure they feel about the virus. Lack of resources, income, and uncertainty about the future certainly isn’t helping things. A good way to relieve some stress for someone else is to give them something they need.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to reach out to those who might be at risk for getting sick. If you’re young and healthy, looking out for those who are at risk of COVID-19 can be an important part of “flattening the curve” of this outbreak. While you’re making your list of indoor activities and books you want to read in the coming weeks, add some charitable tasks to your to-dos.
Take a look at some of the options below for safe, healthy ways you can help. You can do many of these things—such as donating to organizations that help low-income folks—at the click of a mouse, without even having to leave your house.
Keep washing your hands, avoid touching your face, and do something good today.
The Red Cross currently has an urgent need for blood donations because of the outbreak. On its site, the organization explains, “Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. Right now, eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment to give soon.” Find out if you’re eligible to give
Give to Food Banks and Delivery Services
Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization, is accepting donations in order to help give food to those who need it most, including children who usually get healthy meals from schools that are now closed. You can donate here or use this directory to look for local food banks and soup kitchens in your area.
Also consider giving to organizations like Meals on Wheels, which helps deliver food to seniors who may be self-isolating in order to stay healthy. The organization is currently asking for emergency funds from the U.S. government, but you can still donate here.
Baby2Baby, a non-profit that gives basic necessities to children living in poverty, has also asked for donations. If you’d rather, you can even purchase supplies for Baby2Baby to distribute on its Amazon page.
Charity Navigator has put together a list of trustworthy organizations, if you’re looking for other places to donate.
Support Local Workers
Local businesses are struggling in the midst of the virus as more people are social distancing and have stopped going to restaurants or stores. One way to help is to purchase a gift card to your favorite local restaurant or coffee shop with plans to use it once everything calms down. If you do have any reservations, be sure to cancel so the restaurant can adequately prepare.
Other small things you can do: If you have tickets to a show at a non-profit theater that got cancelled, consider donating the money you were refunded. If you need to go to a grocery store, try visiting your local Asian market, which might have less customers due to racism surrounding the virus.
And if you do have to cancel an appointment with someone who relies on in-person services (a house cleaner, a nanny, etc.) and you’ve already budgeted the money, pay them anyway. There’s even an emergency relief GoFundMe for sex workers in New York City to assist those who are seeing a decreasing in work due to the virus.
Be Kind to Your Community
As news around the virus continues to unfold, reach out to anyone in your life who might be at high risk, whether they are elderly or immunocompromised, to see if you can safely pick up food or medicine for them. You can also reach out to any of your friends or family who might have mental health issues that have been exacerbated by the new coronavirus to see how you can be of assistance.
VICE has compromised a variety of resources for those who are looking to reach out to their neighbors, including a guide to creating a Neighborhood Pod as well as a sample letter to invite people to create a support network so everyone can communicate about their needs. Also, be sure not to hoard supplies so that those who are sick, and those who can’t afford to purchase anything extra, can still get what they need. Staying safe and healthy is a community effort.
If you’re a fan of the finer things in life, there’s a whole new way to combine your love for designer items and delicious food…but you’ll have to book a flight. The first-ever Louis Vuitton café and restaurant is opening in Japan.
The new luxe dining options will be a part of the Osaka, Japan, Louis Vuitton flagship location, according to WWD. The café, called Le Café V, and the restaurant, named Sugalabo V, will both be on the top floor of the four-level store.
The menus will be curated by Yosuke Suga, a renowned Japanese chef. Although there is no official word on what these two Louis Vuitton eateries will have on their menus, the restaurant Sugalabo V will be inspired by chef Suga’s Tokyo restaurant called Sugalabo. His restaurant is very exclusive, and the Louis Vuitton location will be no different. Suga travels every so often to explore new ingredients and gain inspiration for new dishes, so it’s no question that the menu will be carefully considered.
Not only will the food be decadent, but the entire aesthetic of the restaurant spaces will be decorated in line with the Louis Vuitton brand. Designer Tokujin Yoshioka was in charge of designing charger plates that reflect the design and will likely be an ode to the famous LV monogram, according to WWD.
The Louis Vuitton Osaka flagship is set to be open for retail on February 1, but Le Café V, and Sugalabo V will be open and ready to serve lucky customers starting February 15.
Fashion talks a big game when it comes to inclusion, but few brands can actually back it up. So it’s a breath of fresh air to see the legendary house of Fendi making steps to becoming more size inclusive by casting Jill Kortleve and Paloma Elsesser in its fall 2020 runway show in Milan. They are the first “plus size” models to walk in a Fendi show ever.
Modeling alongside the likes of Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber, Elsesser sported a soft yellow tailored jacket with a wide belt that created a cinch at the waist. Following her Fendi runway debut, Elsesser opened up on Instagram about what the moment meant to her.
“I will save all the prophetic language, for once, as I literally have no words!!! I would simply like to express my gratitude for this monumental moment. thank you to EVERYONE INVOLVED,” she wrote.
Elsesser explained how walking in the show made her “feel protected, safe, and seen” and hopes it has the same affect on those who normally don’t see themselves on fashion runways in cities like Milan. While it was Elsesser’s first Fendi runway show, the New York native is no stranger to the luxury fashion house and starred in the brand’s ad campaign in 2018.
Fendi’s fall 2020 runway show also marked a first for fellow model Jill Kortleve, who has walked for Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Rag & Bone, Mugler and more. Like Elsesser, Kortleve’s Fendi debut was another pinch-me moment.
“Hi to my first Milan runway show, walking for freaking @fendi ?? Sometimes I feel like my life isn’t real ? thankful for all the opportunities I get and all the people that believe in me and help make it all happen.”
Wow, so apparently 2020 is the year that Gwyneth Paltrow decided to go horny on main. In case you don’t live on the internet 24/7, allow me to break this phrase down for you. The internet is wild dystopian jungle where humanity’s survivors spend their days arguing with robots about the important issues of the day like global politics and which member of the cast of Succession they’d like to be run over with a truck by. Many people like to separate these two streams by using their main internet presence to discuss serious issues and creating an alternate presence for Horny Studies. The exception to this rule is people who work in Media, where logging on and screaming “Cousin Greg punch me in my face sksksksk” is seen as professional advancement. This is how peace is maintained between the two great kingdoms—Serious Discourse and Hot Mess Express. But, like an avenging angel laden with a fiery staff in one hand and a jade egg in… the other hand, Gwyneth Paltrow is here to destroy that peace with her new Netflix show, the goop lab (all lowercase).
I have so many questions but, honestly, every question is immediately accompanied by the answer “Really, what did you expect?”
The audacity of Netflix promoting this series with the line “Gwyneth Paltrow welcomes you to the Goop Lab” is breathtaking. That’s like saying “Joe from You welcomes you to the bookstore.” Maybe you’ll leave with a copy of The Price of Salt but… maybe not.
Goop’s new series, according to the preview, sends various Goop editors and Gwyneth herself on a series of harrowing adventures in alternative wellness that have got to be HR headaches. Can you imagine going to your desk in the surely open office concept of Goop Headquarters, turning on your Gooputer, opening up your Pal-mail, and seeing an email from Gwyneth with the subject line “Scheduling your exorcism!????” How does one even respond to that? Do you get PTO? (Prayer Time Off?)
My thoughts exactly!
The areas of “study” in the “lab” include “Psychedelics”, “Cold Therapy”, “Psychic Mediums”, “Orgasms”, and “Energy Healing”, all of which seem like categories on the most deranged episode of Jeopardy! yet. Cold Therapy, for instance, seems to involve bringing a bunch of Goop employees in bathrobes into a tundra and then… I don’t know, Lord of the Flies-ing it? Who can say? I am willing to entertain the idea that Gwyneth is performing a psychological experiment to see how far she can push people before they band together and overthrow her.
The thing I find so fascinating about Goop-era Gwyneth is that she consistently maintains the energy of that one friend you have who is always doing things that seem like cries for help but are kind of working out for her nonetheless. Once a month you meet her for bottomless brunch and she tells you about throwing up her soul while doing ayahuasca or spending two weeks at a silent retreat run by a Komodo dragon and you have to figure out how one asks follow-up questions. She’s like “Anyway, I’m sure you already guessed this but I found out that one of the things affecting my productivity was that my clitoris is haunted.” And you’re like “Oh, well that sounds like a real pickle. My washing machine has been making a strange noise so I… I get it.”
Let’s circle back to this exorcism, actually. I can’t get over it. Take, for starters, Gwyneth’s casual response to the revelation that one of her employees had a demon cast out of her: