The Bijan bags: What are they and could they secretly be Najib’s own brand?
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh on Wednesday (June 27) announced that several Bijan bags were among the stash of high-end goods seized last month from properties linked to former prime minister Najib Razak.
KUALA LUMPUR — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor can be said to be a connoisseur when it comes to handbags, as can be seen from the brands she chooses for her favourite arm accessory.
After all, it was through her that Malaysians have been educated on the value of a Birkin bag by French fashion house Hermes.
But public interest has now shifted to another new handbag brand, the custom-made Bijan.
Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh on Wednesday (June 27) announced that several Bijan bags were among the stash of high-end goods seized last month from properties in the Klang Valley linked to Ms Rosmah’s husband and former prime minister Najib Razak.
Mr Amar estimated the Bijan bags alone to be worth RM1.6 million (S$541,513.52).
Mr Amar’s mention of Bijan at his press conference on Tuesday drew puzzled looks and giggles from the reporters present, who had never heard of the brand and had to ask how it should be spelt.
Some Malaysians have noticed that "Bijan" is an anagram for "Najib" and have suggested, jokingly, that the brand could even be Datuk Seri Najib's own, or that he might have some stake in it.
So what is a Bijan and where does it come from?
The House of Bijan belongs to Iranian designer Bijan Pakzad. Several publications have described it as “the world’s most expensive store”.
Mr Pakzad migrated to the United States in 1973, before setting up an exclusive boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California three years later.
The Huffington Post describes it as a place “where only the filthy rich shop” and an article from the site listed down former United States presidents Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as Britain's Prince Charles, Hollywood actors Pierce Brosnan and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Monaco’s Prince Rainier among its star-studded client list.
The report said one must need an appointment before even entering the store, which has since been sold in 2016 to luxury group LVMH — which owns, among others, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Hublot.
Bijan is described as not being shy about displaying opulence, and the shop is known for its marble floors, woodwork, crystal chandeliers and luxurious furnishings.
The Most Expensive Journal blog site, which writes on luxury items, puts the price of a tie at US$1,200 (S$1,635.74) and custom-made suits at US$25,000.
The Huffington Post said the store did not produce its accessories and clothes in big numbers, “just a handful at the most” from quality fabrics and materials, to maintain the brand’s exclusivity.
The store sells clothing and fragrances — and as evident by its distinguished clients — mostly for men.
So perhaps the bag was Mr Najib’s instead of Ms Rosmah's?
Perhaps, but perhaps not.
Bijan also has a collection of alligator handbags for ladies in an assortment of bright colours that Ms Rosmah appears to be fond of, apart from her love of jewellery.
Los Angeles has been named as one of the places Ms Rosmah was known to shop. On New Year’s Eve in 2013, there was speculation among some Malaysian bloggers that she and Mr Najib had completed a trip to Los Angeles and were headed to Sydney to usher in 2014. AGENCIES