Le Mill opened in 2011 to much fanfare. Tooted as the first real “concept” store in Mumbai, Le Mill famously promised to bring favorite Western designers to the subcontinent and absorb the import duties. They’ve made good on their promise, but beyond that asset, the only “concepts” at work in Le Mill are pretty clothes and nice home décor.
That said, Le Mill offers more than your run-of–the-mill boutique (aha.) The store is housed in a large, old mill in the dockyards of Wadi Bunder, and it’s a beautiful space worth experiencing. It incorporates both Indian and Western clothing designers, but also some wonderful in-house flatware, a children’s corner, a gemstone boutique housed in a shipping container, a (lackluster) flower shop, and a cool café for the hot and weary.
Le Mill currently carries a number of chic and fresh designers from the United States, Europe, and India, including Heimstone, The Row, Les Fils de Bengal, Thierry Colson, Neha Malhotra, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Cutler&Gross, and the rising star Saloni Lodha…. Some of my favorite items: a breezy orange sundress by Les Fils de Bengal (9,590), an intricately beaded Saloni dress (29,000), A white crochet top by Heimstone (15,290) or their pink silk pinafore (20,000), the splashy prints by NorBlackNorWhite, and Rajesh Pratap Singh’s exclusive men’s suits.
The aesthetic is pretty standard Mumbai though—light fabrics, hand-prints, bright colors, and beading. I struggled to see anything new or surprising in their point of view. And I wondered, of all the exciting young designers in the West who might blend beautifully into Bombay’s aesthetic (Proenza Schouler, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, to name a few)—why choose The Row?
My favorite stuff at Le Mill was actually their home-wares, especially their lovely in-house line of bowls and plates, printed with coolly colored patterns (500-800 rs each; concocted by a former Hermes designer). I also liked their “Platinum” collection—flatwares in solid pastel colors rimmed in silver (330-1490 per piece). Also fun: enamel bowls (500) and tiffins, chunky corked jars (300-600), and Obataimu’s amazing Object Lights—old trumpets, buttermilk churners, cameras and the like transformed into beautiful and unique light fixtures. (about 50,000). The store incorporates some wonderful design elements, like the paper interpretations of Bombay’s ubiquitous crows, the mismatched café chairs, and the flamingo-footed jewelry cases.
If you decide to make the trek to Le Mill, don’t miss out on the café, by Arjun Gadkari. The menu is small, seasonal and immensely satisfying. We tried the ricotta crepes, the breaded chicken, the gnocchi, and the barley salad; my absolute favorite however, was the shredded lamb and mint salad w/ pomegranate. Splendid.
17-25, Nandlal Jani Road
Next to Wadi Bunder New Railway Bridge
Wadi Bunder (East)
Daily, 11am to 8pm