The Hamptons have always had a love/hate relationship with the few seasonal stores that appear each summer, only to leave a vacant space come September. This year, a number of companies are taking the pop-up route, occupying storefronts on a temporary basis to test the Hamptons waters and save money in the process. East Hampton's Main Street seems particularly fated to see these type of shops this summer, as Hermes, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Trina Turk and Jimmy Choo all plan to open locations there for the coming months. (Southampton has not been forgotten: Diane Von Furstenberg opened her pop-up on Jobs Lane in April.) The economy is to blame this year, of course, as it's no secret East Hampton's $200-per-square-foot annual rents reached unbelievable heights in recent years, often driving out smaller shops that couldn't withstand the influx of brands like Tiffany & Co. and J.Crew.
These stores are seemingly successful ventures, as shoppers enjoy the often beach themed goods and nautical decor, but they rarely strike a chord. Anyone remember Mulberry last year on Main Street? Or Cartier the year before? Brands make little investment by sticking around for one summer, and lose out on becoming the shopping staples like stores that have stood before them. Ralph Lauren's iconic Polo Country Store in East Hampton is certainly a better advertisement for his brand than the stripped-down version of Michael Kors. Pop-ups are certainly a sign of the times, and are always more welcome than an empty shop. And who knows, some might decide to come back.