HTSI editor Jo Ellison
HTSI editor Jo Ellison © Marili Andre

Everyone has an opinion about Gwyneth Paltrow. Of all the celebrities I’ve ever interviewed, Paltrow’s is the name that has elicited the most passionate response. Full disclaimer: I’m a fan girl and have followed her relationships, her wardrobe choices and her film roles for decades – she’s been a cultural touchstone for nearly 30 years. Hard to believe that she made Seven, which shuttled her to international stardom, when she was only 23 – the same age as when she stopped reading anything written about her in the press. As she told me over tea at her home in Amagansett, had she taken all that was said about her at face value, she would have surely lost her mind.

Kiohne Bay jacquard Lycra and double-knit Spandex swimsuit, €170. G. Label By Goop cotton denim Cooper shorts, $275
Kiohne Bay jacquard Lycra and double-knit Spandex swimsuit, €170. G. Label By Goop cotton denim Cooper shorts, $275 © Nathaniel Goldberg

Paltrow’s career has seen many diversions, and though one of the world’s most powerful female actors she has spent much of the past decade eschewing life on the big screen. In our exclusive interview, she reflects on turning 50, mental health, happiness and why she turned her back on Hollywood. She also discusses life at Goop, her wellness empire valued at upwards of $390mn. With a rare combination of East Coast princess and West Coast boho, Paltrow has shown rare genius leveraging her brand. Whatever you think about her natural remedies and hokey theories, her no-bullshit candour and focus is something in which I’d happily invest. 

This month also sees a new arrival in HTSI: a new Technopolis correspondent, Rhodri Marsden, whose debut column examines the rage for retro “toys”.. I used to work with Rhodri way back, when we were at The Independent, and am delighted that he is joining the FT. Sidenote: his #duvetknowitschristmas series is among my favourite ever Twitter feeds.

Skepta in front of his painting Mama Goes to Market
Skepta in front of his painting Mama Goes to Market © Dexter Navy

In another debut, the British-Nigerian grime artist, rapper and producer Chief Joseph Olaitan Adenuga Jr, or Skepta, is unveiling his talent as a painter for the first time. His work Mama Goes to Market is part of a “pocket” collection Adenuga has curated in homage to Nigeria that will form part of Sotheby’s upcoming Contemporary Curated sale. Adenuga has no further ambitions as a painter, but the works have encouraged him to educate his daughter about her diverse cultural background. “I want my children to feel like they’ve been in an African household, whether it’s the music, the art, the clothes we’re wearing, the food we’re eating,” he tells HTSI. “A lot of the African art in my house when I was growing up really shaped me as a man.” 

Equally emotional is the multimedia artist Zoë Buckman, who draws on personal and shared experiences to create a tapestry of female life. The Hackney-born artist opens a new solo show, Bloodwork, at Pippy Houldsworth gallery this week: hers is a brand of feminism that looks pretty delicate to begin with, but is devastating in its directness when you actually get up close. 

Zoë Buckman at home in New York
Zoë Buckman at home in New York © Weston Wells
Joan and Adrian Dannatt in their London garden
Joan and Adrian Dannatt in their London garden © Max Miechowski

My favourite up-and-comer in this issue, however, has to be Joan Dannatt, the 97-year-old artist mother of Just William star and “resting thespian” Adrian, whom we visit in Islington in the home she has inhabited since 1955. She and Adrian, who still lives with her, have amassed a trove of British art: their walls feature both household names such as Patrick Procktor and Ivon Hitchens as well as lesser-known pieces they’ve picked up in various junk and thrift shops throughout the years. Joan is herself an accomplished artist who only enjoyed her first solo show at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in 2015. Adrian is determined that she will have another when she turns 100. Joan is adamant that she will do no such thing. Together they are a brilliant foil for each other. And Victoria Woodcock’s account of the Dannatts’ extraordinary home, and their lives together, makes for one of the most charming stories I’ve ever read. 

@jellison22

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