INTERVIEW WITH NICOLAS BIJAN PAKZAD
It has been nearly 4 years now since the fashion world lost world renowned designer and tastemaker Bijan Pakzad, but the tradition of bespoke men’s wear and the quintessential spirit of international luxury and good taste that he established continues not only through the efforts of his loyal staff, but more importantly by the brand’s newest ambassador, his son Nicolas Bijan Pakzad. It is a difficult task to walk in the footsteps of a legend and inherently even more arduous when that legend is your father, but Mr. Nicolas is proving that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree as he readies himself to take the reigns of the 39 year old fashion house. Like his father he is incredibly charming, with a smile and a sense of humour that could warm even the hardest of hearts. He has inherited his fathers flair for dressing not only the brand’s international black book of clients, but personally as well. Impeccably dressed, whether in a duck egg blue linen suit accented by a perfectly knotted silk tie, or in a sportier incarnation of jeans and a butter soft leather jacket, Mr. Nicolas seems always appropriate, always perfectly turned out. He certainly also has the same passion for the family business, having had a childhood completely immersed in the colourful, whimsical, yet ultra sophisticated and ultra privileged world that Bijan Pakzad created. Yet, Nicolas Bijan brings a new vibe to the brand, one which is bursting with youth, modernity, and a delicate personal style which subtly brings every stitch, buckle, zip, and seam of its craftsmanship and artistry to life.
Being a dyed in the wool Bijan fan since the age of 13, it was a thrill to be invited by Mr. Nicolas to not only peak inside the glamorous and well appointed world of their Rodeo Drive boutique, but also to gain insight to the recently graduated prodigy himself. Walking in and being bathed in the luscious colours and textures of its Mediterranean villa decor and of the exquisitely showcased jackets, shirts, ties, and accessories reminded me of my first visit to Bijan in New York all the way back in 1985. Though the scents and sights have remained faithful to Bijan’s vision, with bold and sunny Bijan yellow still the brand’s signature and the iconic Bijan fragrance lightly perfuming the decadently appointed space, there is definitely something new and fresh about the experience. Though touted as the most expensive store in the world and working on private appointment, Mr. Nicolas has a unique way of constructing the client experience, making everything, regardless of its price seem accessible. This is the hallmark of modern luxury retailing and Mr. Nicolas has, in his way, lifted the Bijan experience to a new level.
As we tour the boutique, both pride and joy fill the young entrepreneur’s eyes as he gracefully opens each of the closed wardrobe doors that, when opened, reveal the most spectacular merchandising known to luxury retail. Each cabinet thematically revolves around a particular colour, with clothing, accessories, and objects d’art skilfully arranged like sartorial still lives, each telling its unique story. Scattered amongst these vignettes and his father’s unique collection of Botero paintings, are beautifully framed photographs of former ad campaigns and the pantheon of the house’s high profile clientèle; a veritable Who’s Who from the worlds of entertainment, diplomacy, and politics that has included the likes of former President George H. W. Bush, Sr. and President George Bush, Jr., Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and numerous Royal Families from all over the world.
However, there is another thing that you can see in the eyes of Nicolas- a faint glimmer of bitter sweet sadness. Having recently lost my own mother, it is very familiar to me. Being the son of a strong and powerful figure, who becomes not only a parental figure, but also a mentor and a best friend carries a significant burden when the torch of their inspiration is then passed from parent to child. It was this respect and reverence for the task before him that struck me the most in meeting Nicolas Bijan and it is my pleasure to share with you the moment that we spent together in his family’s emporium of style.
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