Rhiannon Harries: Built-in flimsiness not the greatest idea

Urban Notebook
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The Independent Online

The average five-year-old might still be filled with excitement by the words "pop-up", but for grown-ups it's a prefix that has become less synonymous with 3D books than with desperate attempts at upping the hype surrounding any temporary retail or entertainment enterprise.

In the past five years, there is little which hasn't "popped up" in London at some point, from designer clothing boutiques to restaurants, nightclubs, hairdressers and art galleries. Occasionally the results are impressive, bringing slick outfits into unusual spaces. More often, they seem to be a nifty way for businesses to increase their presence for a couple of weeks without having to invest in proper shop fittings.

At the packed launch of a pop-up fashion store at a chi-chi West End hotel, I spent the best part of the evening wrestling with a Gareth Pugh dress dangling impractically in the centre of the postage stamp-sized room. At an eye-wateringly cool pop-up bar, I found myself drinking my £8-a-glass wine (the cheapest on the menu) at a plastic table.

So I was heartened to receive what may be a portent of the pop-up's demise in the paradoxical form of an invitation to today's opening of some temporary boutiques at west London shopping centre Whiteleys. The concept is the same, but they have rather pointedly eschewed the "pop-up" label and dubbed the whole thing "pop stores", perhaps mindful that vaunting one's flash-in-the-pan flimsiness is not quite the right pose to strike these days. Let's hope it's a permanent fixture.

Spring in my step

I shall resist the temptation to declare that spring has sprung, but the improvement in the weather has nudged my thoughts towards some lighter-duty apparel. Thinking I might start by trading in my crampons, I was disappointed to realise that fashionable options are limited to genteel kitten heels, pictured, (shades of Theresa May) and high-heeled clogs that – when noisily combined with escalators or hard floors – might as well come with an Asbo. Most frightening is the latest pretender to the FitFlop/MBT workout-while-you-walk throne, the Beech sandal. If the price of not having to wear a furry zebra-print flip-flop is bunions, I'll cough up now.

Self-inflicted punishment

With the lengthening days comes the pleasure of spending more daylight hours in my house and the great displeasure of being able to see just how filthy it is. I can't get my head around the idea of having a cleaner, but was intrigued to learn that a friend once had a sideline as a "dominator" that involved bossing his clients around while they scrubbed his kitchen floor with a toothbrush. Inquiring as to whether he thought anybody would pay to spring-clean my place, his response was dispiriting – even masochists "have limits", apparently. Ouch.