Bijan, the Essence of Opulence
Bijan Pakzad was a native of Iran, who moved to Los Angeles in 1973, where he established his boutique in Beverley Hills three years later. He lived an extravagant life and had exclusive clients and made no apologies about it, buying houses in Italy and New York so he would have places to stay when he traveled. For his entire life, he was one of the few internationally famous Iranians who was allowed to come and go from his native land as he pleased.
The House of Bijan
Bijan Pakzan is better known as simply ‘Bijan’, and this is what he named his fashion house for men when he created it in 1976 with Dar Mahboubi, his business partner. This boutique was built on the world-famous Rodeo Drive. This location, along with the obvious quality of his clothing, quickly established him as someone well able to clothe the rich and powerful. Some have even called his shop “the most expensive store in the world”. The first Beverley Hills boutique was followed by a New York location in 1983.
It was apparent Bijan had quite a talent from the beginning. He only worked with the best and most costly, but his ability to make fine clothing drew him great customers, nonetheless. Presidents, governors, celebrities, and powerful men of all kind came to Bijan to get clothing, among them: former mayor of Beverley Hills Jimmy Delshad, several U.S. Presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush to Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, the richest man on Earth Carlos Slim Helu, the singer Usher – the list goes on and on.
An Opulent Lifestyle
In his personal life, Bijan was known to live much like his very exclusive clients, perhaps even better, in some cases. His shop was always immaculately decorated, as were his homes in the U.S. and in Europe. He had his own personal collection of cars, including unique models from Rolls Royce, Ferarri, Mercedes, and others which were often painted yellow and black. He would often drive these to work and park them in front of the boutique.
He eventually turned his design talents to cars as well as clothing, collaborating with car companies to create black and yellow Bentley models, a Bugatti Vevron, a yellow Rolls-Royce Phantom, among several others.
Bijan even designed a luxury gun in the 1980s – a Colt Revolver, gold in color. The grip was made of leather, and the cylinder was inlaid with real 24-carat gold. The weapon itself was carried in a mink pouch, and the pouch was placed into a Baccarat crystal case, which had the name of the owner embossed upon it. On the barrel of each of these weapons was engraved Bijan’s signature. There were only two hundred of these made, and they are considered to be worth tens of thousands of dollars today.
Cars, guns, clothing… Bijan was not content to stop there. His boutique also offered jewelry, watches, and accessories for men. Of course, he had fragrances created to go with them, made in the exclusive Bijan style for which he had become famous.
The first fragrance for men came in 1981, sold in Baccarat crystal bottles that were individually numbered and signed. Just six ounces of this perfume is currently priced at $3,000. Fortunately for those who are not willing to spend so much on fragrances, he moved on to mass produce other scents. His charter Bijan perfumes for men and women became instant bestsellers wherever they were sold.
That first scent, Bijan for Men, was rereleased to the general public in 1987. This complex scent contains notes of mandarin, oakmoss, iris, sandalwood, musk, leather, vetiver, tonka, and many other touches to create a wholly unique experience. This fragrance was the winner of the FiFi Award in 1988.
The female version of the first Bijan fragrance was released in 1986. It is a more floral scent, and is distinctly and wonderfully feminine. It has notes of ylang-ylang, lily, carnation, sandalwood, amber, heliotrope, vanilla, and other notes – just as rich and complex as the men’s fragrance.
Even the bottles are considered a work of art. They are circular in shape, with an open center and a web to divide them. This innovative design has not only been granted a global patent, but it has been giving a place as a permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute.
Bijan Pakzad passed away in 2011, but his business partner, Dar Mahboubi, keeps it going in his spirit, as do Bijan’s three children. His eldest daughter, in particular, has collaborated with her father on many designs, serving as creative director for the company for decades. The man may have passed on, but his legacy is in good hands.