Before bringing their pop-up store to East Hampton, Julia Van Hagen and Michelle Tashjian did their homework. “I combed through every store in the Hamptons and really studied the market,” says Van Hagen, a Paris-based pop-up connoisseur who recently partnered with New York stylist and longtime fan of Mecox, Tashjian, to open the Hamptons Pop-Up located in Mecox East Hampton on Newtown Lane.
The result of their hard work? Since the Hamptons Pop-Up opened on July 24, Mecox East Hampton has been home to perhaps the Hamptons’ most highly curated collection of luxury fashions that are fresh, vibrant, chic and most importantly, not found anywhere else on the East End. Prices range from $200 to $2,000 and the collection includes swimwear, menswear, eveningwear, children’s apparel, accessories and shoes.
So far, the response from shoppers has been fabulous, and Van Hagen immediately noticed how people—especially those who have been in the Hamptons forever—are excited to have a new place to find even more exclusive pieces. Finding is what Van Hagen does best. Leveraging her background in art, she takes on a curator’s perspective and is constantly researching designers on the verge of becoming household names in the high-end fashion space.
After finding a designer, often on her travels around the world, Van Hagen works with them on a consignment basis to feature their brand in her pop-up shops. In the past five years she has hosted pop-ups in some of the luxury market’s most desirable destinations including Ibiza, London, Istanbul and Saint Tropez where she currently has a pop-up shop open for the summer.
But at the moment, she is based in Mecox East Hampton where shoppers are scoring everything from Osman evening wear from London, Mykos swimwear from Greece, cover-ups from We Are LEONE, and a resort brand from Marie France Van Damme. For men, Van Hagen has amazing linen shirts from Italy and swimwear from France. She is also proud of her inventory’s handmade Spanish espadrilles from Manebi, basket bags from Sicily, and really funky cool clutches—“like the kind you would expect to see in Capri.” Her collection from Colombian designer Amelia Toro is also very popular.
“We have truly one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Van Hagen, “These brands will eventually be in the U.S. but we’re enabling shoppers in the Hamptons to be early adopters so they can have them way before the rest of the country.” And of course they don’t have to get out their passport or pay international shipping. In other words, shopping in Mecox East Hampton is a like an international treasure hunt meets gold mine.
A lot of these brands will eventually be contacted by the likes of Intermix and Saks, but as soon as they become big and are picked up by mainstream stores, Van Hagen is no longer interested. That’s why she relies more on Instagram and blogs than magazines for finding inspiration.
When asked what her favorite part about living in the Hamptons is, Van Hagen pauses for a moment and when she finally answers, her answer couldn’t be more surprising. The lobster shacks. She loves seafood but also says she enjoys how friendly the community is and how relatively laid back compared to other expensive zip codes she’s visited. And getting to attend polo matches is a perk.
After her stint in East Hampton is up, Van Hagen will focus on her projects in France, but then she hopes to partner with Mecox again and open a pop-up shop in its Palm Beach store, and eventually other Mecox locations.
Van Hagen points out that selling fashion alongside art and furniture in the same space makes perfect sense. “Instead of feeling like they’re wandering around a store, clients will feel like they’re living an extraordinary lifestyle.” Not surprisingly, Van Hagen’s interior design style is global. She likes to mix contemporary and classic furniture from all over the world. “It’s nice to be able to walk into a room and feel like you’re in multiple places, or at least like you’ve been to those places.”
That feeling is evident in Mecox East Hampton where, for a limited time, shoppers can find apparel and accessories that will make them feel as though they’ve traveled the world—everywhere from the most sought after islands in the Mediterranean to the colorful markets in India and the urban landscape of London. Shoppers definitely benefit from the three months of the year that Van Hagen spends traveling in search of the latest labels—before they’re the latest labels.
“It’s rewarding to help a young designer get exposure,” says Van Hagen. “In fact, one of the brands we featured in our New York pop-up shop in May just got picked up by the Four Seasons who saw how well it was selling in our store.”
Through August 9, the Hamptons Pop-Up will be open in Mecox East Hampton every day during regular store hours. For more information on Van Hagen and to follow her on social media, visit JuliaVanHagen.com.