Bettina Liano's recent swipe at Melbourne's shopping culture was the result of her embattled business rather than "exorbitant" rents, an agent says.
CBRE associate director Max Cookes confirmed that Ms Liano was evicted from her Melbourne store, but said the premises was leased within a week of her departure for a substantially higher rent.
"We had to change the locks on the boutique at 269 Little Collins Street and put up a notice of re-entry as the tenant was very far behind in their rent," Mr Cookes said.
The action prompted Ms Liano, a well-known fashion designer, to retort store rents were too high and the CBD was like a ghost town.
Ms Liano, who has just opened her first international store in New York, said high rents were emptying Melbourne's fashion lanes of everything but "tumbleweeds".
Ms Liano has reportedly turned her back on Melbourne for the Big Apple where rents are more affordable and there are "actual people" shopping.
But Mr Cookes said there was a lot of interest in Liano's old store. Little Collins Street houses fashion brands such as Scanlan & Theodore, Jigsaw and Spencer & Rutherford. All have recently renewed their leases.