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A slowly expanding festival of music merch pops up at Hollywood & Highland

A slowly expanding festival of music merch pops up at Hollywood & Highland
The monthlong pop-up at the Hollywood & Highland shopping center opened Friday — the same day the Rolling Stones' album "Blue & Lonesome" was released. It will slowly add music and merchandise from other artists on the Interscope Records roster. (Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

A monthlong pop-up shop that opened its doors at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue on Friday — the same day the Rolling Stones released their first studio album in a decade — is adding a touch of festival flair to the music merchandise business.

The 17,000 square feet of prime real estate dubbed Wear. Music. in the Hollywood & Highland shopping center — until recently home to a multistory Gap store — has been temporarily commandeered by two Universal Music Group properties; the Interscope Records label and the global music merchandising company Bravado aim to put all manner of wearable goods flowing from Interscope's stable of artists within arm's reach of the 10 million people they expect to pass through the retail complex over the course of the holiday season.

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The twist is that the cavernous space is not yet stocked floor to ceiling but is designed to fill over time keyed to meet-and-greets, signings and performances involving various artists that will take place every few days — sort of the merchandise equivalent of a slowly building music festival.

One corner of the Wear. Music. pop-up shop displays merchandise keyed to the new Rolling Stones album "Blue & Lonesome."
One corner of the Wear. Music. pop-up shop displays merchandise keyed to the new Rolling Stones album "Blue & Lonesome." (Startraks Photo / Startraksphoto.com)

First on deck is the Rolling Stones, whose latest album "Blue & Lonesome" was released Friday. For the occasion, the building's two-story façade was tricked out in a blue version of the band's instantly recognizable lips-and-tongue logo along with the album title. Just inside the front door stand several racks of the new album itself (in vinyl, CD and deluxe CD box set versions) surrounded by a couple yards of wall space displaying Rolling Stones merchandise. One wall was stocked with apparel overtly referencing the new album (a Schott leather motorcycle jacket with the blue version of the logo printed on the back was one piece we noticed; a sweat shirt bearing the words, "I'm a Fool for You," a track title on the album, was another), the other with more generic Stones-wear — knit caps, snapback ball caps, baseball jerseys, T-shirts and sweat shirts emblazoned with the band's name, logo, album artwork or some combination thereof.

Although the rest of the space is a mostly empty work-in-progress, there are a few hints at what's in store for the store thanks to the series of kiosk-like spaces lining the walls, each hidden from view with a scrim bearing the name of an artist and a date. One bears Lady Gaga's name and the date Dec. 8 (along with a lone pink cowboy hat), Guns N' Roses' name appears above the date Dec. 5 and Marilyn Manson's with the date Dec. 17. Other artists in the mix include Imagine Dragons and the 1975.

The Wear. Music. folks have announced a few of the events on tap, including a performance by K. Flay (8 p.m. Monday), a DJ set by Goldroom (8 p.m. Tuesday), a performance and signing by X Ambassadors on Saturday (with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood) and a Dec. 17 performance by Alex Aiono, and they tell us they expect to be announcing more events in the not-too-distant future.

Wear. Music. 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. The pop-up space will be open through Jan. 2.

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me @ARTschorn.

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