The Fashion Alternative
By : | December 5, 2013

LeMill, a trendy concept store in Mumbai, is India’s answer to the Parisian Collette – it is chic, stocks only alternative labels in fashion, textiles and home décor, and has two outposts within the city.


LeMill, Breach Candy, Mumbai

This weekend, LeMill, Mumbai’s très chic fashion and lifestyle store opened a show of American designer Jade Jagger’s jewellery. The beautiful jewels found place in both of LeMill stores in Mumbai.

Jagger is the latest of the designers that sell, or have sold at LeMill, considered India’s answer to the uber chic Colette, in Paris. Much like the Parisian store, LeMill only sells alternative brands from India and abroad. Brands encompass fashion-forward set of designers like Peter Pilotto, Isabel Marant, Thakoon and current Greek-born global favourite Mary Katrantzou. You are likely to stumble upon an Erdem lace dress in lime green or one of Katrantzou’s digital print designs. The accessories are fun – jewellery pieces by Irish designer Tom Binns, leather bags by Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler, and pumps by Marant. Men have a smaller selection to choose from: just one rack that mostly contains cotton and linen shirts by Pero, Acne, Savio Jon and Sifr.

LeMill’s flagship store is in Wadi Bunder, a gritty dockland district with several workshops and mills that have since shut shop. The three partners – Cecilia Mohile Parikh, Julie Leymarie and Aurelie de Limelette, along stylist Anaita Shroff Adjnania got together in 2011 to open a truly contemporary and international store in a former rice mill that belonged to the Parikh family, which was restored beautifully by architect Ashiesh Shah.


LeMill, Breach Candy, Mumbai

The second store is in Breach Candy, an upmarket neighbourhood in south Mumbai, stocks only clothing. “There was nothing like Colette in India,” says Cecelia. “LeMill’s first flagship store was born in March 2011 from the dedication of three co-founders to marry contemporary European aesthetics with modern Indian sensibilities. The vision was to create a platform for design in India; a store that would be up-to-date on international trends and introduce its own Indo-European ideas. Along the journey, we developed an in-house collection. A raw, simple collection that focuses on materials and colour in furniture, linen and dining. In parallel we are committed to supporting Indian designers and work closely with the talented men and women to challenge our conceptions of what Indian furniture means. Besides these local innovators, we have placed unique international design icons. This curated spirit also extends to the fashion at LeMill. Each brand carries a singular sartorial identity.”

So, Le Mill is a mix of European ethos as well as top quality Indian and European products. It stocks bespoke tableware, textiles, furniture, ready-to-wear and accessories. “The store retails luxury home décor and alternative fashion. The emphasis is on providing a unique retail experience as well as excellent customer service, with an expert always on hand to assist customers with his or her needs,” she adds. “LeMill offers a variety of intricate and exotic home objects, cherry picked from across the globe, with the objective of supporting designers and artists. When selecting the store’s assortment, we are constantly asking ourselves: what does modern India wants to wear?”


LeMill, Breach Candy, Mumbai

The auction would include contemporary artists’ as well modern artists. Christie’s is also looking at Indian antiquity. “Installations are not that easy to handle. But antiquity and sculptures are interesting. Even when you don’t know anything about Indian art and are confronted by a beautiful Chola Balaji, you can see it is beautiful. It is a work of art that transcends cultures,” he says. “And we have a beautiful one coming up for auction in September; it is a 12th century bronze from an old French collection. Traditionally, miniature paintings, once collected by Europeans and Americansin the 60s, have also done well. They were highly portable and were sold by Maharajas who were in need of some funds.”

Among her picks from the current collection are: an all-black pants (loose or slim) from The Row, shredded t-shirts from Raquel Allegra to jazz up my pants, Peter Pilotto skirts (I order one for myself every season. Same shape but different print), Alaia cocktail dresses, pyjamas from Poplin (why should dressing end at bedtime) and The Row classic handbag for day.

It has not been easy breaking into the luxury market, Cecelia says. “However, people are realizing the intrinsic value of the brands we are selling. Also, we are much cheaper than what you would buy in say, Singapore or Hong Kong.”

LeMill also experimented with the pop up store concept in Delhi last year, and will do more pop-ups besides opening a store in Delhi very soon.