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Racked Recap 2008: Top Five Pop-Up Shops

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With only a few days left in 2008, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, of one major economic collapse and many minor shopping frenzies. Folks, it's the annual (two years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments, from the marketing gimmicks to the never-ending lines.Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia.

2008 was the year pop-up shops went from novelty to mainstream. By the time the year ended, even Procter & Gamble were getting in on the temporary-store game. Some of the more exciting new pop-ups, like Bird in Williamsburg and Botkier in Soho, don't fully count because they're going permanent. Others, like the mini Ikeas that arrived ahead of the Red Hook monolith, were more billboards than boutiques. But these five shops below were uber–pop-ups: They came, they saw, they conquered, and then they disappeared.

5.) Kidrobot Pirate Store: Way back in February, arty toyshop Kidrobot popped up a “pirate store" in Soho to house their wares while they moved their permanent shop from 126 to 118 Prince Street. The piracy theme seemed to extend to the prices, which helped everything walk the plank at 50% off. It also fit the crowd: Young, male, and, as they were happy to discuss while waiting in line, not averse to shoplifting from Urban Outfitters.

4.) Colette x Gap: Some of the biggest stories of the year didn't result in the greatest shopping experiences, as anyone who waited in line outside the Gap's collaboration with chic French retailer Colette could tell you. (Even our hardened reporter was cowed by that one.) The store appeared in midtown during Fashion Week, and for sheer hype and line-length alone, though, it deserves a place on the list.

3.) Method scrubs Broadway: Cleaning supply company Method, purveyor of the prettiest counter sprays and hand soaps around, presaged Procter & Gamble's effort by popping up in Soho this past June. The perks—discounted supplies, a free tote bag—were nice, but the real draw was just seeing all that impeccable packaging in one place.

2.) The Havaianas Booth at Fashion Week: Free flip flops! Need we say more? In a sea of inexplicable freebies—we still have our package of Sculptz shapewear, but only because we can't seem to give it away—the Havaianas booth offered something people can genuinely use. Better yet, the thongs were customized: Shoppers got to mix-and-match tops and the bottoms.

1.) Target Bullseye Bodegas: The merch was good, the design was clever, the scene was frenzied—there was nothing not to like about Target's homage to the humble bodega, which popped up in several Manhattan locations during Fashion Week. The stores were decorated in bold, cartoony reds, yellows and blues and carried housewares and clothing by the likes of John Derian, Sigerson Morrison, Jonathan Saunders, and Anya Hindmarch . They've been closed for months now, but we still think back on them fondly.