Mille’s Next Move – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

When Mille owner Michelle LeBlanc launched her boutique’s independent label (Mille Collection) in 2019, she had no idea that three years later she’d garner over 70K Instagram followers and 100 wholesale partners around the country—from small boutiques to big players like Nordstrom, Shopbop, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Anthropologie.

In 2020, due to the pandemic, LeBlanc made the decision to close her southwest Minneapolis (48th and Grand) brick-and-mortar—where for seven years she’d sold a curated assortment of unique boho and indie designers like Ulla Johnson, Zimmermann, and No.6—and shifted focus entirely to the in-house label. “Being a multi-brand store is really difficult financially—it requires high margins, you to carry a ton of inventory, and you need a really loyal clientele,” says LeBlanc.

Mille Collection was born out of LeBlanc and team’s love—and desire—for fashion that’s feminine yet practical. “As much as I love special statement pieces, I think we’re most inspired by the things we want to wear on a daily basis,” says LeBlanc. She had noticed a hole at buying markets—they lacked easy, pretty things that were casual and comfortable. “Every time we’d go to a showroom, all we’d see was silk.”

Since its inception, Mille has stayed true to its mission, using wearable fabrics like linen, cotton, and gauze that can take you from school pickup to happy hour. “This will remain the bulk of our business because it’s what I like to wear,” adds LeBlanc. Pivoting to produce their own collection also means keeping price points more accessible ($150–$280). The Mille team designs everything locally and works with sustainable materials and a family-owned workshop in India for production.

The most current late-spring drop is stocked with dresses and tops inspired by vintage ’60s and ’70s florals. LeBlanc also draws on her travels and a love of old films for inspiration. Take her most recent trip to Belize: “I’m always thinking about what it is I’m missing in my suitcase and what I wish I had with me.”

As for future plans? Expect East Coast–inspired linens and stripes (plus a resurgence of the popular citrus prints from last year) and a French-inspired preholiday collection.

Madeline Nachbar

As Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Trend & Style editor, Madeline Nachbar draws on her passion for travel, fashion and the arts to keep a close pulse on what the next big trends are, and excels at creating visually-compelling content that inspires.

Read more by Madeline Nachbar

June 21, 2022

5:57 AM

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