I was historicizing the pop-up retail concept with a colleague the other day and he claims they began around 15 years ago with 'gypsy' stores that popped up along Oxford Street when retail outlets became empty in the last recession. The gypsies moved in, popped up Sale signs in the window and a new instant retail hit was born.
Comme des Garcons became a main protagonist of the pop-up concept as we know it today with its far flung guerilla stores only open for a year and then disappearing without trace. I remember a minion once covered the Glasgow CDG space for me, I think it was one of around 12 locations all over the world. They were always opened in desolate hard to find places and then closed again without much fanfare - very CDG, very anti what pop-up as marketing tool has become.
Now many retail ideas later we have moved on to the Pocket store concept from a more mature and dare I say commercial CDG operation. It focuses on all the brand's best sellers - from the Play collections to the perfumes to the mini-leather goods in a small, compact and not unbijoux-like retail box space. It's full of things you want to put in your pocket in fact. And now there are two of them in CDG's second home of Paris. And if you can't get there get a feel for the Pocket store concept in the Dover Street Market ground floor.
I can't help but think of a recent and significantly connected retail trend: the bodega store. Hidden away in a bonafida bodega in Boston is a hip sneaker and limited edition sports gear store Bodega, masquerading behind a colourful retail exterior selling toilet tissue and crisps.
Meanwhile super-size US value chain Target saw this clever marketing idea and jumped on it big-style, doing its usual media-frenzy, attention grabbing, pop-up store concept during New York fashion week in September. Not one but four Target Bodegas popped up in Manhattan offering shelves full of pick-me-up and consume-me food, drinks, snacks, accessories and clothing from its wealth of discount price merch. New Yorkers swarmed like flies. And so another innovative retail concept was burned in hell.