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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 Worst Pop-Up Shops of the Year
Did you fall for the hype of some less-than-stellar pop-up shops this year? Yea, it's okay; we did too. But without stumbling into these embarrassing attempts at temporary stores, we wouldn't have been able to write yesterday's list of the Five Best Pop-Up Shops of 2009.
Let us have a moment of silence as we reflect on these retail train wrecks. And now The Five Worst Pop-Up Shops of 2009:
5. YSL Edition Unisex: This pop-up makes the number five spot on our list simply because we do not remember it. A store has to be pretty dull for it to completely flee our thoughts, and looking back at the gallery and write-up of this Yves Saint Laurent Bowery boutique, that sounds just about right. There was scant stock, it was priced in the thousands, and it was all unisex and only up during February's Fashion Week. It was easily lost and forgotten in the Fashion Week vortex.
4. Vitamin Water on Broadway: Beverages should just stop it already with the trying to launch products by making pop-up shops. The idea might seems cool and edgy on paper, but a storefront based around an as-yet-untried new drink fizzles quickly. Plus, everyone hated the new Vitamin Water 10 being promoted here. It also reminds us of the Belvedere vodka pop-up, which couldn't serve alcohol but could tell you about it! Needless to say, we didn't even go to that one.
3. Bailey's Irish Cream on West Broadway: Here we go again with the beverage-based pop-up shops. Bailey's however at least attempted to sell actual product, offering selected designer shoes in limited sizes at bargain prices ?Alejandro Ingelmo for $75 anyone? Note that this Bailey's pop-up couldn't sell actual Bailey's, but just wanted some exposure. They even donated the money made from selling the shoes. Odd.
2. eBay on 57th Street: Thus continues the trend of pop-up shops that don't sell anything. It's infuriating! If we make the effort to stop by a store, and maybe we see something we like at a reasonable pricepoint, we'd like the option to buy it. Is that too much to ask? eBay's little store just showed you nice things that maybe you could find on their auction site, but somehow we doubt the existence of Balenciaga bags under $500 on there.
1. Gucci ICON in Soho: Oh, the hype! It burns! Gucci's Crosby Street shop to promote the capsule collection of boat shoes designed by DJ Mark Ronson suffered from a lot of pizzazz and no substance. They launched an iPhone app for it, they threw a lavish celeb-studded party, and then the employees outnumbered customers 2-to-1. Commenters called it "very ghetto," "over-logoed," and another wondered: "Maybe [Gucci is] in trouble and need to try something new to try to inject a little buzz?" We second this thought.