Pop Up, Pop Down


Photo via Drake’s Instagram

Everything is popping up these days. Like this blog, for starters. You might have found it on a pop-up menu. When you clicked on the link, you might have encountered a pop-up ad. And to keep those pop-ups out of your face, chances are your Web browser offers a pop-up blocker.

But that’s old news. Pop-ups have been hopping around the Web for at least a decade. What’s new is that pop-up fever has spread to the bricks-and-mortar world, if only to keep up with the Internet. A fad goes viral, and you don’t want to wait to build a store to cash in on it.

Pop-up stores, like those open just for the Christmas season, have been around for decades, but they are getting more numerous and more ephemeral.

“Pop-up retail” became a catchword early in the new millennium. A 2004 article in declared, “If new products can come and go, why can’t the stores that display them do the same? … We’ve dubbed this trend pop-up retail, as these initiatives have a tendency to pop up unannounced, quickly draw in the crowds, and then disappear or morph into something else, adding to retail the fresh feel, exclusivity, and surprise that galleries, theatres and Cirque du Soleil-adepts have been using for years.”

So for example, on the Web site Guest of a Guest, we find “Six New York Pop-Up Shops You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer”:

Havaianas sandals

BaubleBar funky and affordable accessories

Alice & Olivia clothing

Indochino Traveling Tailor menswear

Soludos espadrilles

Elie Tahari clothing

Sorry, though, you’ve missed them already. They popped up and down last summer.

For some pop-ups, a day is enough. How about a one-day pop-up restaurant? Recently on the reality show Eat Drink Love, the chef Nina Clemente took an opportunity to stage a one-night pop-up restaurant, on a Monday night at a restaurant that was otherwise closed Mondays. She had all of four days to get ready. “Prix fixe, $45 a head, an amuse-bouche and then I’m gonna do three courses, and then I’m going to talk to Waylon about possibly doing the dessert.”

And then there’s a Pop-up Magazine, existing for just one night, founded in 2009 in San Francisco. Its Web site explains: “Pop-Up Magazine is a live magazine, created for a stage, a screen, and a live audience. Nothing will arrive in your mailbox. Nothing will go online. Nothing will be filmed or recorded. An issue exists for one night, in one place.”

Just last week the singer Drake offered three one-day “pop-up shops featuring October’s Very Own gear” in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto. The shops were open all of one day, September 19.

Missed it? Sorry, there goes your chance for free “Nothing Was the Same” T-shirts.

But don’t worry, something else will pop up.

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