Nearly two years ago, the city saw the birth of a high fashion store which morphed its fashion retail landscape. Le Mill infuses a contemporary Western aesthetic to the evolved Indian fashion lover. Last November, Cecilia Morelli Parikh opened a second store in Breach Candy. Being a French and Italian, design has always been part of her vocabulary. These two nationalities taught her how design can take very different forms. She has always looked at design as an expression of the self, of function but also of a national mood and aesthetic.
Bergdorf Goodman experience
“Working as a buyer at BG was my version of business school. BG is a beautiful example of commerce and art working together. My mentor Jennifer Sunwoo always gave me tremendous responsibility and was the first person to teach me to look at fashion as a poem of numbers and creativity,” she says.
Moving to Mumbai
“After our honeymoon it hit me that I would not be returning to my life in NYC and that was scary. I was very fortunate to have some very close friends, including Julie and Aurelie, so in this I was not wanting. But I was panicked at the idea that I had nothing to do,” Cecilia says.
Birth of Le Mill
She wanted to offer a more European aesthetic that worked in modern India. “We hoped, and have somewhat succeeded, to make a lot of what we would sell in India itself. Our idea was that Mumbai missed a store that sold objects, clothes, flowers and food that were modern and luxurious but married themselves well to the Indian home and lifestyle,” she adds.
Work life balance
“I try hard to take care of myself and my body. So I eat very healthy and I do yoga at least four times a week. That’s my time to be with myself and regroup. Otherwise, at the office I am often hounded and rarely eat without a colleague across my desk de-briefing me or worse, have my lunch in my car. My husband also works a lot and so we have to be careful to set aside enough time to be together.”
Fashion retail in India
“I think luxury retail in India is a little stuck. On one level, I empathise with our customer who has traditionally been accustomed to shopping abroad and continues to do so. I understand that to many Indian holidays are for shopping. But on the other, I feel we Mumbaikers complain a lot that there isn’t enough going on in India, and therefore that we have a small duty to support entrepreneurs etc setting up shop; whether in restaurants or retail. While I do not claim that Le Mill alone can replace Selfridges, I fear that binge shopping often impedes us from shopping trends that work, and forces us into purchases we cannot exchange when we are back home,” she signs off.