Bijan (designer)

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Bijan Pakzad
Born(1940-04-04)4 April 1940
Died16 April 2011(2011-04-16) (aged 71)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
NationalityIranian
OccupationDesigner
Known forThe most expensive menswear store in the world
Label(s)
Bijan
Spouse(s)Sigi Pakzad (divorced)
Tracy Hayakawa (divorced)
Children3
AwardsFiFi Most Successful Men's Fragrance 1988
FiFi Best Women's Fragrance Package 1988
FiFi Men's Fragrance Star of the Year Specialty/ Department Stores 1997
FiFi Best National Advertising Campaign – Men's 1997
1995 Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize
2010 Otis College of Art and Design Otis Design Legend Award
2011 Oxford University "Entrepreneur of the Year"
Websitebijan.com

Bijan Pakzad (/biˌʒæn ˈpɑːkzɑːd/; Persian: بیژن پاکزاد, pronounced [biːʒæn pɑːkzɑːd]), generally known simply as Bijan (4 April 1940 - 16 April 2011), was an Iranian designer of menswear and fragrances.

Biography[edit]

Bijan Pakzad was born in Tehran, Iran in either 1940[1][2][3] or 1944.[4] He was the son of a wealthy businessman. He attended Institut Le Rosey,[5] and studied design in Switzerland and Italy.[3] Bijan's career began in Iran with the Pink Panther Boutique in Tehran.

Upon immigrating to the United States in 1973, Bijan settled in Los Angeles and established his exclusive boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in 1976. He had initially purchased a parking lot that he turned into a building store, and was confident his business in L.A. would take off because "I saw brilliant men earning $100,000 a year dressed in the most ridiculous clothes".[6]

In 1984, he opened a second store on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in New York (which closed in 2000).[3] By 1985, he claimed 15,000 customers, including four kings and sixteen U.S. presidents. In his first ten years of business, he claimed a $150 million revenue. He owned a textile factory in Italy where he manufactured his custom-made clothing[7][8] In 1989, the Bijan NY store was hit by the 2-year, $50-million renovation of the adjacent St. Regis Hotel, and launched litigations against its then-owner Sheraton.[9]

In 2000, Bijan generated controversy when he published advertisements featuring a nude "rotund model named Bella",[10] which were rejected by many New York magazines before being accepted by Tina Brown's Talk.[11] He said the ads were an homage to painters Peter Paul Rubens, Henri Matisse, and Fernando Botero, whose art has featured full-figured women, and said "I embrace the beauty of all women".[10] Once they were published in Talk, the ads were accepted by several of the publications that had previously rejected them.[10]

He launched the Michael Jordan fragrance in 1996.[12][13] According to the 2001 Los Angeles Times Calendar Section, the Bijan Perfume and Fashion Business has brought in an estimated $3.2 billion in sales worldwide.[14] In November 1997, two executives of Bijan were robbed of $3 million worth of jewelry in London in a very elaborate heist.[15]

On April 14, 2011, Bijan suffered a stroke and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[16] He had brain surgery,[4] but never recovered and died two days later on April 16, 2011 at 8:05 am. Public records indicate he was 71.[1][3] Bijan's boutique on Rodeo Drive was sold to LVMH for US$122 million in August 2016.[17] The boutique moved across the street in 2020.[18][19]

Work[edit]

A Bijan suit jacket

Bijan specialized in exclusive high-fashion designs. He never held a fashion show to exhibit his creations.[12] His New York Times store was a curiosity in the city as it was by appointment only, to ward off the "untasty people."[3] He once said "I do not want to sound snobby, but I have power, I have connections with all those people, I have homes all over the world, all you want for a 45-year-old man. I am a multimillionaire myself."[7] One of his advertising slogan was "The costliest men's wear in the world".[12] He designed a $10,000, 24-karat (parts), .38 caliber Colt automatic pistol[3] ("Now you tell me, is this something a murderer would buy?")[8] and a line of bulletproof clothing launched after the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981[8] (a saleswoman claimed Bijan was the first fashion designer to make bullet resistant clothing).[20] In 2010, he designed a limited edition Rolls-Royce coupé with a price tag of $1 million.[3]

Bijan's fragrances for both men and women are known for their distinctive circular glass flacon with an open center and a dividing web. When half full, the fragrance fills two separate chambers, seemingly defying the law of gravity that liquid seeks its own level. One of these perfume bottles is featured in the permanent exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution.[citation needed]

Among his clients, Bijan claimed to count five U.S. presidents – both George H. W. Bush and his son, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton – as well as politicians such as Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Najib Razak, Farah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[3][2] He also dressed other fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, and Giorgio Armani, actors such as Tom Cruise and Anthony Hopkins, and professional footballers including Mick McCarthy and Liam Brady.[2] He claimed to foster very special relationships with his customers, a key quality to know how to dress them best. Each purchase came with a notebook detailing how to wear it best.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Bijan's custom Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, commissioned shortly before his death

Bijan was married twice. His first wife of eighteen years was Sigi Pakzad[21] a Swiss-German whom he met while living in Europe in the 1960s; they had one daughter, Daniela Pakzad.[22] His second wife was Irish-Japanese interior designer[23] and model Tracy Hayakawa; they married in 1986 and divorced in 1995. They had two children together:[22] Alexandra and Nicolas.

He was the owner of a 23-car garage filled with luxury custom-made vehicles.[3][7]

Bijan Bugatti Veyron 16.4[edit]

Bijan is most associated with the Bijan Bugatti Veyron 16.4, a custom-made Veyron. Created as a collaboration between Bijan and Bugatti, the Bijan Bugatti Veyron prominently features Bijan's signature yellow.[24] The vehicle generally regarded as a Beverly Hills landmark.

Since Bijan's death, the Bugatti, along with various other custom vehicles Bijan owned, such as his Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, has been parked outside the Bijan boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, purportedly the last place he left it before his death.[24][25]

The Bugatti was vandalized in July 2011, when a local transient broke the passenger-side window. The vandal was arrested by Beverly Hills Police Department officers shortly afterwards.[25][26][27] The vehicle was soon repaired. In early 2017, the Veyron was sold to a client in Dubai. The new owner has since sold it to another collector in Dubai.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bijan Pakzad Obituary: The Obituary and Death Notice of Bijan Pakzad". Legacy.com. Retrieved 6 May 2011. The Times says family members put his age at 67 but public records list it as 71.
  2. ^ a b c Ghasemilee, Sara (19 April 2011). "'Most expensive' designer dies". Al Arabiya. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wilson, Eric (April 18, 2011). "Bijan Pakzad, Designer of High Fashion, Dies at 71". The New York Times. p. B19. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b Parisa Michelle, "Bijan Pakzad Dead at 67", CelebMagnet, April 16, 2011
  5. ^ Avins, Mimi (2003-01-05). "More is More". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2021-09-26. Retrieved 2021-04-07. having been born into a well-to-do family in Tehran and educated at the exclusive Le Rosey boarding school in Switzerland.
  6. ^ Rich Foreigners Buying Estates in Beverly Hills, Nytimes.com, 3 April 1978
  7. ^ a b c Judy Klemesrud, Bijan on Bijn: Savvy retailer to the rich, Nytimes.com, 28 June 1985
  8. ^ a b c d Nina Hyde, Bijan, Washingtonpost.com, 19 August 1984
  9. ^ Mark McCain, Lease Feuds; Renovation Often Leads to Tenant-Owner Disputes, Nytimes.com, 29 January 1989
  10. ^ a b c Designer's Ad Campaign Says Big Is Beautiful Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, Retrieved July 21, 2011
  11. ^ Hamilton Spectator, "The skinny on Bijan's fat lady ads", by Barbara Thomas, February 17, 2000.
  12. ^ a b c Jennifer Steinhauer, Elusive and Exclusive Clothier to the Rich, Nytimes.com, 29 December 1998
  13. ^ Beverly Beyette, What $20 Million Smells Like, Latimes.com, 14 November 1996
  14. ^ "More is more". Los Angeles Times. 2003-01-05. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  15. ^ Carla Hall, 8 Arrested, Some Jewels Recovered in London Theft, Latimes.com, 23 December 1997
  16. ^ Staff Reporter. "بیژن پاکزاد، طراح مشهور ایرانی درگذشت". Kalam TV. Kalam TV. Archived from the original on 2011-04-20. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  17. ^ Khouri, Andrew (August 25, 2016). "Bijan store on Rodeo Drive sells for a record $122 million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Berlinger, Max (2020-07-29). "At the World's Most Expensive Store, It's Still Bugattis as Usual". Robb Report. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  19. ^ Abad, Mario. "Bijan, The World's Most Expensive Menswear Store, Is Moving From Its Iconic Rodeo Drive Location". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  20. ^ Lori Santos, 'Bulletproof' vests: Do unrestricted sales give criminals an advantage over policemen, Upi.com, 3 July 1983
  21. ^ Washington Post: "Bijan Pakzad, designer whose men’s shop catered to rich and powerful, dies at 71" by T. Rees Shapiro April 22, 2011
  22. ^ a b Los Angeles Times: "More is more - Over-the-top isn't high enough for Bijan, whose boutique embraces excess" by Mimi Avins January 05, 2003
  23. ^ Huffington Post: "Iranian-American Fashion Icon Bijan Pakzad Passes Away" by Shirin Sadeghi April 16, 2011
  24. ^ a b Brown, Lauren. "Here's Why A Bugatti Is Always Parked In Front Of The World's Most Expensive Store". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  25. ^ a b Dumitrache, Alina (2011-07-21). "Bijan's Bugatti Veyron Vandalized in Broad Daylight". autoevolution. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  26. ^ "Bijan's Famous Bugatti Car -- VANDALIZED!". TMZ. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  27. ^ "Bijan's Bugatti Veyron Vandalized in Broad Daylight". www.topspeed.com. Retrieved 2021-03-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]