The Guiltless pop-up store, which had been burgled earlier this week.
HONG KONG — Pop-up stores are all the rage. It's made off-line retail a far more accessible channel for brands without big budgets. But as a favored format among young brands, it's also made retail more accessible to burglaries and theft.The point is something that Yen Kuok, founder of Guiltless, a Hong Kong-based second-hand luxury goods marketplace, was rudely awakened to when her brand's first pop-up was targeted by thieves in a smash-and-grab attack on Monday. According to a police account, a team of four plundered 15 Hermès bags and one Yves Saint Laurent purse, valued at 1.44 million Hong Kong dollars, or $184,000, in under a minute.The store, which is scheduled to operate until Dec. 26, was located inside a shopping center, Man Yee Building, on Queen's Road Central. The gang used a sledgehammer to break the glass where luxury purses were displayed in the windows at about 6:30 a.m., according to police. The break-in took the mall security guard an hour to discover.While an established retailer with a permanent presence may invest in measures such as reinforced glass, CCTV surveillance cameras and alarm systems, those safeguards can — and often do — get lost in the mix when it comes to pop-ups.MORE: Digital Leader Everlane Heads to Physical Retail >> "We're still in a bit of shock that something like this would happen to Guiltless," said Kuok, the youngest offspring of Malaysian billionaire businessman Robert Kuok. "But we're working closely with the police and want to assure our consignors that they need not worry. All items entrusted to Guiltless are safely insured, and all damages or losses will be compensated for accordingly."Storefront, a leading pop-up store marketplace that brokered the space for Guiltless, seemed equally caught off guard by the incident."For us, it’s the first time ever over the world we had this issue," said Benoît Clément-Bollée, Storefront's Hong Kong director. The company, which began in 2012 and describes itself as an "Airbnb of retail spaces,” connects more than 20,000 listings worldwide and has been seeing "huge" growth every month, according to Clément-Bollée. "To be honest, it was in a shopping mall and the shopping mall has significant security measures," Clément-Bollée said. "It’s just a matter of bad luck. This brand had made a lot of noise and captured the attention of many people. It’s super sad."MORE: Hypebeast Partygoers Sustain Burns, Eye Damage from Soroyama Pop-Up >> Storefront does provide insurance options for its customers, but security features, if any, vary widely on the space booked. A space can be as modest as an open booth and venue listings, which are created by users, often do not mention security features at all."We are thinking how we can better help our clients but this happened just a few days ago," Clément-Bollée said.Alice Ratcliffe, head of brand for another pop-up space booking platform, Appear Here, which has been used by brands such as Net-a-porter and Chanel, said the level of security "completely depends on the space." A form of insurance is compulsory for every booking the site handles, but the responsibility for security is ultimately the tenant's."It is down to the brand to make sure they are adequately covered and they understand the risks involved in taking the space," Ratcliffe said."In some cases, before a brand has moved in, they may work with a landlord to make sure it's been updated. We've had brands who have invested in new alarm systems installed, some landlords help brands to cover building insurance, taking on additional insurance."Appear Here doesn't offer security services or products for the time being, but in the future, Ratcliffe said similar to how travel agencies help to provide add-on services beyond "booking your flights, [to include] holiday insurance, transport to and from the airport, we'd want to offer the full 360 on launching a store."Diego Dultzin Lacoste, cofounder of On the List, a sample sale pop-up organizer that recently hosted events for Stella McCartney and Kenzo, said brands should approach the retail format sensibly.MORE: China's Middle Class Longs for Luxury--Secondhand "The security is super limited and so the risk level has to be measured by the tenant," he said. "The landlord can give some guarantees, but you cannot [necessarily] expect to have CCTV and alarms. It's up to the tenant to manage it — to make sure there won't be anything happening whether that's customers stealing, staff stealing or it can be what happened to Guiltless."Although initially On the List rented out different venues to hold its sales, it has since moved to a permanent showroom, investing in security fit-outs and brings stock from the brands it works with to the space instead.But Dultzin Lacoste remembers a sale it did in the company's early days in a hired venue, before it set up its own showroom."We were not sure about the doors and to avoid the risk, we had some security agents come in for the whole night so that we could sleep well and not be stressed out," he said. "It was on Russell Street in Causeway Bay. You could lock the doors, but it could be activated by the management, and we were not sure how to trust the management of the building."
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)