Blake Lively wants to teach *you* how to curate a sustainable, handcrafted life through artisinal storytelling to preserve the greater good (or some bullshit like that)
Blake Lively’s new lifestyle website, Preserve, launched yesterday, and it is just as annoying and useless as anticipated. The introduction proposes telling a “story through style and craftsmanship,” living a “holistic” and “present” life, and so many other cultural buzzwords it’s like Lively filled out a hipster Mad Libs. She overuses the word “artisinal” so brazenly that reading Preserve could be a drinking game. Oh, and she uses the incorrect spelling of “palate.” (I almost choked on my coffee.)
It’s utter nonsense, and as far as I can tell it’s just Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop by way of Brooklyn, i.e., another half-starved actress shilling overpriced retail and unintentionally sounding like an entitled asshole. Next up is Reese Withspoon (I live for when Michael K calls her “Laura Jean Poon”) with her southern lifestyle brand, Draper James, debuting later this year.
Which leaves me wondering: why are celebrities starting these lifestyle brands in the first place? Goop has been in the red since its inception. (And at millions of dollars per film, I doubt any of these women expect they’ll substantially increase their bank accounts by selling fancy ketchup and aryuvedic enemas.) Sure, Martha Stewart built an empire on lifestyle, but let’s be real: not everyone can be Martha. Jessica Alba has a thriving brand with The Honest Company, but she isn’t selling some amorphous vision of living like an idealized Instagram feed; she’s selling diapers, people.
If it’s increased publicity these actresses-turned-lifestyle doyennes crave, this, too, seems a losing proposition. Paltrow may have always been a pretentious nightmare, but it wasn’t until Goop that the press started talking about it. Lively is already being publicly lambasted only 24 hours into her internet venture. Is *any* publicity truly good publicity? Has Kim Kardashian won?
Look, I don’t want to be entirely crusty about these brands as a category. Paltrow has undeniably good taste and I will admit (grits teeth) to admiring some of the items Goop recommends. I have a harder time seeing the value in Preserve which is basically a hipster dry goods store, a category that already has a substantial e-commerce presence.
The critical flaw with celebrity lifestyle brands isn’t so much the content as the spirit, the holier-than-thou presumption that famous people have something special to teach us about living merely by the fact of their celebrity. It would be so much more palatable if these blogs were presented objectively: Look, this is how I live, where I shop, what I eat, and I think it’s pretty terrific. Maybe you will, too. It is supremely annoying to have a twenty-something former star of a CW teen drama tell me how to “live authentically”; but if she’s just sharing pictures of what her last dinner party looked like, perhaps I might be inclined to buy her favorite artisinal vegan napkin rings.