Three New Holiday Pop-Ups: One Is Absolutely Fabulous!

I checked out three brand new retail pop-ups yesterday, literally as they were opening their doors for the first time. My nose for the new did not disappoint. Two of them will be open thru the end of the year. One is open only thru the weekend.

Let’s start with the biggest WOW.
Beams Concept Store 007 at Nordstrom (and at Fred Segal LA)

Until about a week ago I had never even heard of Beams. And now, as of yesterday, I’m crazy about everything this buzzy Japanese brand is doing. And even though they’re only carrying the men’s collection, I expect women will buy it in droves. It was hard to restrain myself from buying at least 5 items. It’s a genderless brand.

Observations:
  • Beams’ decision to collaborate with iconic but a bit over-the-hill American brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren and New Balance is a brilliant move. From what I saw, Beams has the juice to reinvigorate those brands. Seeing Ralph in this context made it look relevant for the first time in decades.
  • Beams’ art-influenced tees and hoodies with their funny wordsmithing feels very fresh, e.g., the F-LAGSTUF-F line invites us to “Enjoy Japanese Subculture” that they specify is “Not for children under 19 years.” But for “Ages 20 and up.”
  • The staff at the concept store is outstanding. Stylish, friendly, and knowledgeable. Special shout out to Kayla and the rest of the fab crew who helped me out.
  • Customers, likewise, totally awesome and fashion-forward!
  • And finally, the pop-up itself is very cool. And it’s location is perfect, right as you enter the Men’s Store near the Milk Bar. It immediately establishes the vibe for the whole store.
Scroll down for more photos from Beams as well as info on two other pop-ups that launched yesterday (November 7th).
Beams pop-up at Nordstrom men’s store (235 West 57th Street)
Story “Home For The Holidays” Pop-Up at Macy’s Herald Square (plus 30 additional Macy’s stores)

I was a big fan of Rachel Shechtman’s Story store in Chelsea. When Macy’s bought it, and named Shechtman their first brand experience officer, I was happy for her but did not feel compelled to traipse to Macy’s to check out how the Story concept was translating at scale. That was a big mistake on my part. But as luck would have it, I was in the right place at the right time yesterday for the opening of the new “Home For The Holidays” Story. It’s really fabulous! While Story no longer has the cool indie vibe of the Chelsea original, it is very creative and the selection of merchandise has gotten more varied and interesting.

Kohl’s “New Gifts At Every Turn” Pop Up is open from November 7-10 at 632 Broadway bet. Houston and Bleecker in Soho

Kohl’s doesn’t have a store in NYC but this pop-up introduces shoppers to many of the cool collaborations they’re doing, e.g., Elizabeth and James (the Olsen Twins), Jason Wu, Scott Living (the Property Brothers), Lauren Conrad, Vera Wang. That said I felt there was a bit of a disconnect between the chic boutique vibe at the front of the store versus the down-and-dirty doorbuster deals that were featured at the back. Upstairs is also a bit hit-and-miss. It’s almost as though they ran out of time or money (or perhaps both) to get the job done at the same high level throughout. The selection of merchandise also felt a bit sparse. From what I gathered, there were no take-away sales available but they were offering next-day delivery on any purchases made at the pop-up.

Bottom Line.

I’m still ecstatic about having discovered Beams at Nordstrom. So cool! And I am also planning to return to both the Men’s and the Women’s Nordstrom stores to do a thorough exploration. At first glance, the men’s store seems more interesting to me but I was informed by those wonderful salespeople at Beams, that the women’s store is equally fabulous. I will report back.

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