clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Five Best Pop-Up Shops Of The Year

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

With only a few days left in 2009, it's time to look back at a year of dizzying highs and crushing lows, a year when every empty storefront held a pop-up shop and every sidewalk a sample sale line. Folks, it's the annual (three years running!) Racked Recap. All this week and into the next, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments. Take a deep breath of the sweet, sweet nostalgia with the Five Best Pop-Up Shops of the Year

Pop-up shops! Collect them all! Have you been to the Top Five Pop-Up Shops of 2009? Boy was this a great year for temporary retail spaces, since they quickly went from mainstream and big brand ventures to smaller, more curated scenes.

Join us as we reminisce over the best, the brightest, the most ephemeral; they captured our hearts during their short existences.

5. The Pop-Up Flea for Men: A "menswear festival" was how we originally described it, and yet it became something more akin to a candy store; heck, the place was so magical that we almost bought a vintage bird call! The Pop-Up Flea's selection, curated by the blogger behind A Continuous Lean, included Pendleton Blankets from Epaulet, "hell yeah" gloves from Jack Spade, Rogues Gallery screenprints, Raf Simons, velvet frickin' pencils and brined-in-Brooklyn pickles. That's pretty hard to beat right there.

4. Comme des Garçons BLACK: Taking advantage of the proximity of the High Line and the impact of the recession, avant-garde Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo reissued her deconstructed classics specially for a series of temporary shops around the globe. At a lower pricepoint than your typical Comme des Garçons items, the CDG BLACK line drew us to West Chelsea and to the perfectly executed little black storefront, where we also bumped into Lynn Yaeger drooling over the scalloped tuxedo jackets.

3. (Tie) McQueen for Target and Anna Sui for Target: Not only did we hit up the opening parties for these two very limited stores, one during each of the year's Fashion Weeks, but the atmosphere and excitement and breadth of product had us coming back and bringing friends (even all the way out to the McQueen Market on the West Side Highway). Target went completely out of their way to craft each space into an expression of the collaboration?an industrial party haven for McQueen and a Victorian mansion for Anna Sui?and you were immediately swept up into it. They had a huge budget not doubt, but they worked well with it; these were the places to be while they were open for business.

2. DecadesTwo: If you've got a table of Louboutins, Manolos and Balenciaga in addition to a whole section of vintage Louis Vuitton and Chanel and you're a pop-up shop, how can you not make this list? When LA designer consignment shop DecadesTwo, a favorite of stylist Rachel Zoe who continually name-checks it on her show, popped up above Kiki de Montparnasse in Soho, we were enthralled. New, unworn shoes were selling for under $300, and Bottega Veneta woven leather handbags came in under $500. You almost felt guilty for paying these prices...almost.

1. Save Fashion at the Port Authority: A pop-up with a conscience was the name of the game when Refinery 29's Save Fashion took over an unlikely empty space at the Port Authority and transformed it into a treasure trove of seriously discounted on-trend items. It went through periods of womens and menswear, and included such heartstopping bargains as Rick Owens-designed tops for $28 and pieces from Charlotte Ronson, Rachel Comey, Band of Outsiders and Steven Alan for under $200. Not to mention that it blended our two favorite things: sample sales and pop-up shops.
· All Racked 2009 Recaps [Racked]
· Racked Recap 2008: The Top Five Pop-Up Shops [Racked]