Pop-up shops are nothing new in retail — the last several years have seen several as online brands sought to put a toe into physical retail without a long-term lease commitment. And though the trend was decidedly chilled by the pandemic period and consumer preference to not shop in person for 15 months, pop-ups are coming back in the summer of 2021, and in a place many might not expect to see them — the world of luxury goods.
Waiting Out The Pandemic
Dior, Prada, Valentino, Cuyana and Ted Baker are among the brands trying their hands at pop-up shops this summer, as they test the waters on consumers’ willingness to shop out in the real world again, and where they will be willing to shop.
That is most explicitly the case for U.K. fashion brand Ted Baker. CEO Rachel Osborne said in a Financial Times interview that while consumers are still working from home and thus away from city centers, the brand plans to experiment with opening pop-up shops to catch consumers in small towns as it struggles to rebuild its mostly urban customer base. That process, she said, is taking “longer than expected.”
Ted Baker had been “well-placed” to benefit from increasing foot traffic in city centers before the pandemic hit, Osborne said, though the uneven pace of recovery has complicated the picture.
In the meantime, however, the company is trying out its pop-up store approach as it waits out the slower urban recovery.
Prada, true to its design aesthetic, is going big on pop-ups this summer, bringing heavily themed outdoor pop-up installations to New York, Dallas, Miami and LA to bring in consumers making the rounds in the real world again. The new series of pop-up shops and in-store installations will follow one of four themes: Garden, Coast, Mountain and Snow.
The brand reports that every pop-up installation will have its own unique product offerings curated to the respective locations they are set up in. The shops will reportedly feature ready-to-wear outfits and accessories defending on which theme is currently being represented in the collection.
And though the collection got its start at Prada New York, as of this month it is out on the road. Prada Outdoor will also travel to New York Broadway (June 4-20), Neiman Marcus NorthPark Dallas (June 8-27), Los Angeles Beverly Hills (June 14-July 4) and Miami Design (June 24-July 12).
And Prada is far from alone in embracing big, themed installations this summer. Dior is hosting “Dioriviera global experiences” that will include seven temporary Dior boutiques and 11 worldwide pop-ups, all in celebration of the Dioriviera capsule collections for Summer 2021.
Dioriviera is coming to New York and Los Angeles, though the shopping options get a good deal more exotic from there. Dioriviera Boutiques will be found in Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Monaco, Portofino, Capri, Marbella and Porto Cervo, while pop-up locations will appear in Mykonos Village, Mykonos Nammos, Forte Dei Marmi, Cortina, Capri Il Riccio, Ibiza, Bodrum, Montecito and Montenegro.
The Next Evolution Of Luxury
Not every name band in luxury is pushing pop-ups this summer. Gucci is bucking the trend, opening a permanent location in East Hampton this summer. An exception to the trend in one sense, as it is not a pop-up, but another example of a retailer pushing away from the city center and looking to catch their affluent consumer base at home in East Hampton with a physical location ready to serve them.
And while the pop-up explosion may be a trend, luxury retailers rethinking their strategy to present outside of major urban metros is looking like it may not be.