Imagine walking off to a popular star hotel for dinner and coming across a range of colourful dresses, scarves, flair skirts or chunky jewellery. Once you ask, you get to know it is a temporary shopping space and has been set up to showcase the best in fashion for next one week, few days or even a day. For the uninitiated, this concept is referred to as a ‘pop-up’ and is fairly common across the globe. Chennai, too, has woken up to this innovative concept, with many individuals and organisations jumping into the pop-up bandwagon.
The most recent one was organised by Nikita Kapoor and Pavithra Sagar of Funky Fish and was called All Walks Beyond the Catwalk. They have been organising pop-ups regularly in the city over the last one and half years and have had a successful run so far. The fashion pop up featured top designers and stylists from across the country including Bhumika Sharma, Sonali Gupta, Outhouse jewelery, Valliyan by Nitya Arora and Lola by Suman B. An amalgamation of art, fashion and a whole lot of funk, this edition of the FunkyFish pop up, All Walks Beyond The Catwalk embraces the idea of an eclectic Indian bazaar and recreates the exotic and captivating atmosphere filled with contemporary fashion, art, food, music and more.
This is not the only one. Last year in October, city-based entrepreneur Nandini Varshnei curated Armoire, a luxury pop-up in the city. It featured Indian and Indo-western pret, jewellery and other accessories. The three-day event had everything a fashionista could dream of; from fusion wear like pre-draped saris and dhoti jumpsuits from Mumbai-based Sougat Paul’s Soup, embellished bags from Kanika Chawla’s e-store, Beau Monde, accessories by Mumbai-based Pipa+Bella, anarkallis and saris from city-based INCH by Chintya. Considering the fact that it was a huge hit, Armoire might be back this year as well.
If you thought that pop-ups were only restricted to fashion space, you are hugely mistaken. This June 19, Chennai opened its first Seva pop up café. The Seva Cafe format is already very popular in Ahmedabad and Mumbai – where your bill is paid for by the guest who visits the restaurant before you. It was set up at the SCARF (Schizhophrenia Research Foundation) on ECR. Interestingly, the goodwill café had a bunch of volunteers cooking for about 100 guests and everything from kofta to gulab jamun and pasta to Pan-Asian was on offer. It is being planned as a monthly feature now. In November 2015, Hyatt Regency Chennai set up its Japanese pop up, Yakiniku (which takes its name from a type of grilled meat preparation) in the space occupied by its pastry shop Biscotti. On the menu were delicacies like niku tofu (sliced beef, tofu, dashi stock, green onion, chili powder), takoyaki (octopus dumplings, tonkatsu sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed), nasu dengaku (fried eggplant, miso sauce, sesame seed, sushi and sashimi stations, vegetarian and non-vegetarian tempuras and soups such as miso and potato and crab meat soup. Such was the pop up’s popularity that the restaurant is still up there and is enjoyed by Japanese food lovers in the city.
So look out for the next pop up that comes to town!