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Visiting The Elton John Pop Up Store

By Melanie Hentschel

During my recent visit to London (to see Billy Joel at BST Hyde Park), a friend of mine from Austria and myself visited Elton’s Pop Up Store. I had seen a few pictures and videos about it on social media and was curious about the exhibits and the items in the shop. Most of all I wanted to have a closer look at the eyewear collection and chose a new pair of specs.

The shop is located at 59 Greek Street, Soho, just a 10-minute walk away from Piccadilly Circus. We went there at around 11.30am on a quiet Saturday and were the only customers in the shop by the time of our arrival. Greeted by the dark blue exterior complete with a multicolour-star around the entrance, we at first had a closer look at the windows displaying some of the glasses in front of huge pictures of Elton in various stages of his career. Inside we were greeted by very friendly staff members and a black grand piano standing on a pedestal under a ‘halo’ adorned with glasses. On the left side of the entrance, we found one of Elton’s most iconic costumes in a glass case: Donald Duck, the one he had worn at his legendary Central Park concert in 1980. Of course, we had to take pictures of both the piano and the costume before further exploring the shop!

Elton’s eyewear collection took up most of the shop’s ground floor and the staff told us to feel free to try every pair of specs that we wanted to, which we did. I had seen some of them during my last visit to London when I explored Elton’s corner shop at Selfridges, but all those many glasses displayed here was quite overwhelming and it took me a while to try all those on that I liked and choose the pair that I wanted to take home with me. I already have a pair of sunglasses (the limited Dodgers glasses) so I was mostly looking at the everyday frames and luckily found exactly what I was looking for. Between the shelves, you could find short descriptions of every glasses collection and the inspiration behind it displayed which was a nice thing to see. There were also ready to wear reading glasses.

After that, I had a look at everything else in the shop. There was lots more to find, shirts and jackets, jewellery by Tateossian or banners by Oxford Pennant, as well as vinyl records and bags. You could even buy the limited Steiff teddy if you were willing to spend the money. Apart from the glasses I bought a tote bag commemorating Elton’s 1970’s Troubadour-show and a banner saying ‘Elton forever’. I absolutely fell in love with a bracelet by Tateossian but the price made me shy away from buying it (until a day later when I went back to get it).

Of course, we also had to leave a message at the noteboard displayed in one corner of the shop before we went downstairs for more surprises. Here we found more items to buy, e.g. Elton’s Watford collection as well as hoodies and long sleeves. But the most amazing thing was the display of five more costumes Elton had worn throughout the 70s and 80s, complete with glasses. I especially loved the sequined Bob Mackie-designed costume Elton had worn on his ‘Tour de Force’, though sadly the mohawk-wig was missing.

In the back of the shop, a play area complete with a sofa had been set up with a big screen hanging on the wall underneath a disco ball. Here the demo version of Elton’s Roblox-game could be seen but we weren’t able to play it as it was broken. That was the only thing that dampened our joy of visiting the store. But all in all, we had a great time in the store and left with our bags full, a lot of pictures and a purse that was a lot emptier than when we had entered the shop. It was a great day out!

The Pop Up Store will be at Greek Street until the end of July. If you are in London, I highly recommend visiting it!

Photos courtesy of  Melanie Hentschel

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