'Most expensive' designer dies


Bijan Pakzad, an Iranian-American designer of ultra-luxury clothing, perfume and jewelry, passed away on Saturday after suffering a stroke, his family said in a statement.

Mr. Pakzad was born April 4, 1940, in Tehran and immigrated to the United States in 1973. His exclusive boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills was established in 1976 and can be visited by “appointment only.” It has been described as “the most expensive store in the world,” with prices for clothing well into five and six figures. Mr. Pakzad always said an air of exclusivity was an effective way to attract the high-end customers he was after.

Mr. Pakzad—or Bijan—as he was simply called, was a legend in the fashion and perfume business, and dressed some of the most powerful and famous men in the world.

Among his clientele were US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise and Anthony Hopkins, as well as fellow fashion designers Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta.

In 1982, he designed a .38-caliber Colt automatic pistol, made with 24-karat gold parts that sold for $10,000. The pistol, he said, explained “the need of prominent men among my clientele for a protective weapon appropriate to their lifestyle.”

Bijan is quoted on his company’s website as saying: “The world said to conform. The world said to settle for less. The world said compromise and no one will know ... so I made my own world!”

According to the 2001 Los Angeles Times Calendar Section, the Bijan Perfume and Fashion Business has brought in an estimated $4 billion in sales worldwide.

(Sara Ghasemilee of Al Arabiya can be reached at: [email protected])