Store Review: Le MillView Slideshow
Le Mill is technically not as far out of the way as its location would suggest. Located in a 15,000 sq. ft. converted rice mill in Wadi Bunder, the store is just two kms from Asiatic Library. This being Mumbai however, where distances have little to do with length of journey, we’d suggest you make the trip either in the morning or afternoon. Come evening rush hour, a five-minute journey can become a half-hour trek through a truck-packed road. The owners, French expats Cecilia Morelli Parikh, Julie Leymarie and Aurélie de Limelette, are hopeful that the store will be enough of a lure to convince anyone to make a trip to Wadi Bunder. And for the most part, they’re right. Once the in-house cafe starts service—most likely next week as they await final licenses—the store could become enough of a destination in itself. Come to shop, stay for lunch or tea, work on your laptop (there’s free wi-fi), and gawk at the merchandise. There are about 150 brands, and 30 to 40 categories of products. In our sneak peek, we told you Le Mill is meant to be a concept store, a sort of boutique-y one-stop shop for everything from linen, books and stationery to clothes, toys and furniture. There’s even a glass-encased flower shop, run by the talented Nazneen Jehangir, and a converted shipping container that serves as the jewellery display.
There’s much to love and buy here because the girls have smartly (for the consumer that is) absorbed the import duties on most products. So what you’re paying here for high end lines like The Row, Jade Jagger and Heimstone are the same as what you’d pay in Europe or the US. Some, like dresses by London designer Saloni, are even 30 per cent cheaper. Dresses on average are about Rs10,000, rugs from Rs7,000 to Rs2 lakh, jewellery both precious and semi-precious averaging at about Rs20,000 to Rs40,000 (though semi-precious starts as low as Rs4,000), while stationery, books, children’s items and linens are considerably cheaper. While we couldn’t possibly go through every product line, there are few sections that are worth calling out simply because you’re not likely to find them anywhere else (incidentally most of the stock sold here is available nowhere else in India).
First, the crockery and cutlery. Hoorah for elegant white porcelain. Almost impossible to find anywhere in the city, Le Mill stocks simple white porcelain dinner sets in every conceivable size and shape. Their patterned range, designed by de Limelette who worked at Hermès for eight years, is equally elegant if a tad more colourful; there are ikat prints and evil eye patterns that can be mixed and matched in shades like blue and red. We also loved the bronze and gold stainless steel cutlery by Italian company Skitsch and carved glassware by Italesse.
Jaipur Rugs, an Indian company that thus far has only exported its carpets to the US, will sell its range for the first time in India through Le Mill. There are hand-woven durries and jute rugs, including those made from left0ver loom patches, as well as more intricate wool and silk ones that can take up to a year to make. Prices start at Rs7,000 for durries and go up to Rs2 lakh for the labour-intensive embroidered ones.
It’s a constant refrain among women in our city that there’s no place to shop when you want something a tad more refined than the Bangkok-imported fare of Bandra and the homogenous chain merchandise of Zara and Mango. The clothing selection here should fit that niche quite nicely: there are bright orange rompers by Les Fées de Bengale, silk patterned jumpsuits by Heimstone, vibrant jersey dresses and shorts by Saloni, dainty embroidered vests by Neha Malhotra, and the bandini print line of NorBlack NorWhite. Savio Jon, Anaminka Khanna and Rajesh Pratap Singh have their non-Indian wear here, soft, slouchy lines in shades of beige, blue and white that encompass everything from tie dye shirts and broad-legged trousers to embroidered jackets and silk cocktail dresses. Given our general propensity for “labels” and colour and sequins, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Indian consumer will take to the more muted, low-key aesthetic at play here (dove grey, beige and blush pink dominate through the store). From the kiddie wear, a standout collection is the line of adorable cotton and silk dresses by Delhi-based designer Pero.
Fittingly for a store in India, 70 per cent of the merchandise, including non-Indian brands, have been manufactured here: the furniture, a substantial portion of the clothes, the bed linen and homeware, and almost all the jewellery. India has long been a front-runner in retail and product manufacturing, if just a little short on actual retail spaces to showcase them. With Le Mill however, and its considerable attention to detail—check out designer Ashiesh Shah’s flamingo-legged jewellery display cases and the trumpet and butter-churner light fixtures around the store—we may finally have a store to contend with the best of them.Tags: Ashiesh Shah, Aurelie de Limelette, Cecilia Morelli Parikh, Fashion, Julie Leymarie, Le Mill, Special Top Story
Location17-25, Nandlal Jani Road
Next to Wadi Bunder New Railway Bridge
Wadi Bunder (East)
HoursDaily, 11am to 8pm