Lost in the Mayle: Is NoLIta's Favorite Dressmaker Seeking a New Zip Code?

mayle_fall2008Naturally, we were disappointed when we read in yesterday's WWD that one of our Favorites, Jane Mayle, would be folding her line of "magpie-style" womenswear after her holiday resort collection and shuttering her Elizabeth Street store this January. After we had a good cry, we looked at the piece a little closer and found this juicy nugget from Mayle herself rather intriguing: "What I learned from having this business, I could apply anywhere,…It could be interiors, graphics, scents—anything evoking an atmosphere. That's where I'd like to situate myself." Naturally, smart, political businesspeak like this had us wondering: What is Jane's next move and does she already have one?
In theWWD piece, the British-born Mayle claims that the expatriation of her NoLIta store's lease had her thinking about the fashion world in general instead of just re-upping or finding a new location. "We knew we didn't want to reinvest in the neighborhood," Jane said. But given her claims that the 10-year-old brand has 65 wholesalers (including Opening Ceremony and Barneys) pulled in over $5 million last year (atsa spicy meatball), the decision to close runs directly contrary to good business sense. There's only two conclusions we can draw form this—one, Ms. Mayle is really sick of the game or, more likely, she's moving on to something bigger.
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In these days of non-disclosure contracts and non-competes, it's entirely probable that Mayle has already found a new home at a larger corporation. After some office speculation, names like Cacharel and Cholé (it's been rumored before) popped up. Large home brands—think Missoni Home or even Anthropologie—could satisfy her interest in "creating atmospheres," while big-box retailer Target could offer her a world of lifestyle possibilities as a creative director (those designer capsule lines are REALLYgetting old). Even with all those names in the very theoretical mix, there's one that stands out to us as a perfect balance of broad, mass-market appeal with a touch of the old-world style Mayle has perfected&mash;Banana Republic. That's right, Banana Republic.
Right now, we're waiting for comment from her office, but we do know two things for certain: Jane Mayle is out there and, come January, there's going to be one hell of a closeout sale on Elizabeth Street.
Update: Despite suggestions to the contrary, we don't know nuthin' about Jane Mayle's future plans. We're just making some broad, hopeful, and logical, (if odd -Target?) speculations. Love ya, Leslie.

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