Gwyneth Paltrow’s pubic hair ‘Fur Oil’: Try Me, reads the sticker
Hilary Fannin: At Goop, the dachshund and I also peruse the pleasingly pastel vibrators
Gwyneth Paltrow: actor, lifestyle guru and curator of the good things in life. Photograph: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty
Oh no! Only 96 hours left to stock up on Christmas gifts for your loved one! Just four short days to pick up a witty and tasteful present for your glittering host! Oh holy cow! (I mean, oh holy night!) What are you going to do?
Fear not, weary traveller, your worries are over. Your friend and mine, the lovely lady with the most fragrant tush in the entertainment industry, the one and only vaginal steamer herself, Ms Gwyneth Paltrow, has come to the rescue with her very own pop-up store. And so, on a recent visit to the British capital, I took my less than Zen-like self over to Notting Hill to find Gwynnie’s Goop store in London.
For those of you who don’t share my obsession with Paltrow, let me briefly enlighten you. Paltrow – actor, lifestyle guru and curator of the good things in life – is behind an online publication called Goop, which, alongside articles and editorials about the importance of perching naked over steaming buckets of mugwort and stashing jade eggs in your "yoni";, advertises and sells expensive products, fashion and accoutrements to make us all even lovelier. And now anyone who grabs a cheap flight to London can pluck some of Gwynnie’s bottom-basting products right off the shelves in her temporary shop on Westbourne Grove.
Being short of both cash and stature, I felt a bit conspicuous in Goop, which seemed to cater for tall, skinny people with an awful lot of money
I visited on a mild rainy day in late November. Warm, damp and dragging my parka behind me by the hood, I entered the store at the same time as a terribly well-dressed woman of about my age, who was wearing sharply expensive clothing and had a dog on a leather lead, a dachshund that was exactly the same colour as her loafers.
Being short of both cash and stature, I may not fall into the shop’s intended demographic, and in truth I felt a bit conspicuous in the light-filled interior of the establishment, which seemed to cater for tall, skinny people with an awful lot of money. However, I was taller than the dachshund and, what’s more, my nails didn’t make that scratchy sound over the floor tiles when I stalked right past the £300 leggings.
The store is split into sections: clothes and jewellery, beauty, homeware, sportswear and “wellness and sexual health”. The dachshund and I wasted no time legging it straight over to wellness and sexual health.
“Get a load of this!” I said to the growler, pointing at a bag of Emotional Detox Bath Soak, 680 grams of which retails at £30.
“And this!” I added, picking the hound up by the tail to look at a £44 vial of Fur Oil. The dog was overjoyed. Fur Oil, eh!
“For pubic hair”, read the wording on the bottle, which also had a sticker saying “Try Me”.
“Don’t even think about it,” I told the dog.
We then perused copious quantities of organic products for intimate lubrication and various vibrators in pleasing shades of pastel, including a pink one called the Millionaire (for no discernible reason) and a pale orange one called the Fireman (which did indeed come replete with a little helmet).
Our Gwynnie is fond of vaginal accessories, but she got in a bit of hot water recently when Goop was found to have made unscientific claims about the aforementioned benefits of carrying jade eggs around inside yonis, and to be fair to the woman, there wasn’t an ubh in sight at the pop-up shop. The hound and I did, however, find a little rubber yoke resembling a tadpole, which claimed to be “your most personal trainer”. The instructions were to insert and squeeze, so it was lucky, perhaps, that the ubiquitous Try Me label wasn’t attached to that particular product.
“What’s that?” I warily asked the assistant, pointing at a small oval-shaped thing that was glowing and pulsating. The assistant was young, Italian and lovely enough to make a strong man weep.
“It has a microchip inside it so that you can record your lover’s heartbeat and then synchronise your own, and carry your lover’s heart around with you in your pocket,” she told me. “Or you can record someone’s heartbeat just before they die and have it with you for eternity.”
“As long as you don’t leave it on the bus.”
“What’s a bus?”
I looked around. The dog was back in its owner’s vegan-friendly bucket bag and pretending not to know me. It was time to go.
Gwynnie’s pop-up shop deflates on January 27th. Visit with care; you may need more than a mugwort detox afterwards.