Image: Bijan and AFP via Today Online
Just recently, Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Seri Amar Singh disclosed the value and the list of items reportedly seized from former Prime Minister Najib Razak residences, much to the shock of the nation.
The amount was so staggering, we literally gasped when we heard it: it was estimated to be from RM900 million
to RM1.1 billion
! You can read all about it here
But what attracted our interest the most was actually the handbags that were seized.
We know that our former first lady Rosmah Mansor is an avid fan of handbags -- Hermes Birkin bags in particular (272 out of 567 confiscated handbags were of this model) -- but just when you thought that the Birkin bag is the crème de la crème
of her collection, another bag made by a designer not known to Malaysians trumped them all.
The most-expensive bag out of the lot was a Bijan handbag costing RM1.6 million
. The bag in question is a one-of-a-kind, made-to-order handbag.
It is so exclusive, in fact, clients would need to secure appointments and pay a substantial amount before they even consider helping you create the handbag of your dreams.
So, who or what exactly is this Bijan brand? Is it the sesame on our burger buns? It's a brand not commonly heard of, as reporters roared with laughter and confusion when Comm. Amar Singh first mentioned it.
", it is a high-end super exclusive brand founded by Iranian designer Bijan Pakzad who moved to Los Angeles in 1970s. He passed away in 2011 and his business is now managed by his children. Bijan is known for being the “most expensive store in the world”. What a way to leave a legacy, huh?
SO, ONLY RICH PEOPLE CAN BUY AH?
Well, sort of. While we learned that Bijan makes handbags, his primary focus was actually menswear and perfumes from the start. He’s dressed the who’s who of the world and yes, even some of your favourite stars. Only the filthy rich and famous know this brand by heart.
What’s even more interesting is that he’s dressed every US president since the 70s up to Barack Obama
. Only Donald Trump doesn't have a customised Bijan suit. Famous figures who are known clients of Bijan include Prince Charles
, Pierce Brosnan
, Arnold Schwarzenegger
, Giorgio Armani
, Hugh Hefner
, Michael Jordan
, and Monaco’s Prince Rainier
, just to name a few.
OK, HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO HAVE TO BUY A PRODUCT THERE?
A whole lot of money that we peasants can never afford and even if we die, our children cannot afford to buy the paper version and burn it for us during the Qing Ming festival. Well for starters, if you want to wear a suit just like Obama or the British Royal Family once wore, it'll set you back USD12,000 (RM48,360).
And that's just the starting price, we assume.
The cheapest item would probably be a pair of socks for USD100 (RM403)
and it's been said that customers would spend an average of USD100,000 (RM403,000)
per shopping spree.
For handbags, the ones sold at the store are said to range between USD65,000 - USD175,000 (RM261,950-RM705,250)
. For custom made handbags, it would cost you up to millions of Ringgit, just like Rosmah's.
CAN I JUST WALK IN AND BUY SOME STUFF?
Batman, you probably can't. According to an article by The Huffington Post
, you need to make an appointment just to get through their boutique doors. Imagine that level of exclusivity where even if you had the money, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a spot on the waiting list.
HOW EXCLUSIVE IS EXCLUSIVE?
Well, let's put it this way: chances are, you won't bump into other people wearing the same suit or using the same hanky as you are. Bijan in general doesn't do big runs on certain items, so they are super limited edition. To maintain exclusivity, some of their items are even numbered and made in limited quantities, such as their handkerchiefs – they only have two for each design.
THEN ROSMAH'S HANDBAG MUST BE EXPENSIVE LOR?
Of course lah
, you think Hermes meh
? Bijan is a brand that emphasises on quality and also the little details that goes into making a product. The handbags sold at the boutique are made exclusively with crocodile skin
or kangaroo hide
and are produced in very limited quantities.
Also, most handbags made by Bijan are custom-made and one-of-a-kind handbags. Well, since Rosmah has a flair for crocodile skin Birkins, it’s no wonder Bijan handbags appealed to her heart.
So, what do you think of Bijan’s handbags and products? Are they really worth the price tags? To be honest, we don’t really like their existing handbag designs, but hey, everyone has their own favourite type of tea.
Maybe Bijan’s customers are the crocodile-skin type.