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Legendary Designer Bijan Pakzad Dies

His exclusive boutique was one of the first shops to open on Rodeo Drive.

Bijan Pakzad, the famed fashion designer to heads of state, business moguls and movie stars, died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 71 years old.

Pakzad opened his exclusive fashion boutique, , on North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in 1976 when the only other businesses on the street were a gas station and a few clothing stores.

"He worked very hard for this city," Manijeh Messa, who had worked with Pakzad for 44 years, said Monday at Bijan. "He loved Beverly Hills."

Flowers and cards had been arriving at the store all day, along with emails from loyal Bijan customers and friends such as former President George W. Bush and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"The whole world is going to miss him," Messa said, wiping away tears. "We are all trying to understand what happened, but we are in a state of shock."

Pakzad suffered a stroke Thursday evening and died at 8:05 a.m. Saturday with his family—including daughters Daniela and Alexandra, and son Nicolas—by his side. His friend of 36 years, Vincenzo Brandonisio, was with Pakzad on Thursday before he fell ill.

"I was with him one hour before and he was as energetic as usual," Brandonisio said. "But when it is time to go, it is time to go. We all miss him already."

Pakzad influenced the fashion industry by dressing some of the most powerful men in the world—one appointment at a time. Since the day his store opened, Bijan has welcomed shoppers into its luxurious showroom by appointment only.

"Back then only doctors and lawyers went by appointment. But to make an appointment to shop, that was different," Messa said. "He designed the most beautiful clothing for our clients."

Some of the many rich and famous men on Bijan’s client list include U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, business mogul Donald Trump, fellow fashion designers Giorgio Armani and Oscar de la Renta, and actors Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino and Tom Cruise.

"I was here from day one and he was the most inventive and the most creative man I have ever met," Brandonisio said of Pakzad.

In 1987 Pakzad launched his first fragrance, Bijan Classic, which led to a cologne created for former NBA superstar Michael Jordan and the development of other successful fragrances. Most recently, Pakzad joined with Rolls-Royce and Bugatti to make their luxury automobiles even more luxurious.

"He loved cars and he loved luxury," Messa said. "Everything had to be perfect and beautiful."

In the Middle East, and particularly in his homeland of Iran, Pakzad was widely admired as one of the greatest Persian-American success stories.

"The Persian community is devastated," Messa said. "He was a leader to, and the pride of, Persians around the world."

A private funeral service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, while a public memorial will be held Saturday, April 30 at a location to be determined.

"People from all over the world want to come, so we are trying to find a place that can accommodate all the people who wish to pay their respects," Messa said.

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cindy luzon April 19, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I worked for Bjian as his assistant in 1998 in the New York Store. I want to extend my condoloences to Manijeh and Vincenzo with whom I worked. Manijeh was his right hand person - he didn't make a m0ve without her. It was a unique experience - he was a unique man. I have never seen anyone dress a window like he nor have I ever seen jeans tailored like his were. He wore them often. Cindy Luzon
bobby trendy April 19, 2011 at 07:37 PM
He WAS the ONLY personality driven store on Rodeo Drive! He will be missed! bobby trendy
Juliann Plocek April 19, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I too had the honor of working with this brilliant creative genius. I will treasure the memories of launching his world reknown perfumes across the USA, Canada, Caribbean, UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai... My condolences to all whose lives were changed forever by experiencing pure luxury and who were blessed to be a part of his family. Juliann Plocek
Susana April 19, 2011 at 08:12 PM
I had the pleasure of dating Bijan...he was fabulous, witty and full of energy! I will always rememer how he treated me so nicely and introduced me to the luxury of the world....
Dr Alex Rafi April 20, 2011 at 02:18 AM
Alex Rafi I got my award for my PH d graduation whit his sign, also I give him one of my book about Persian Herbs , I have two photo whit Bijan. Because he loves Iran and he was very sensitives about Persian golf , I send him one of my poem about Persian golf , I missed him as a best friend.
Mojan April 22, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Mojan Majd I can't express my deep sadness about missing this world legent.For us who are living in Iran his loife and manner is a symbole of real iranian character. It's a big shock for me and I miss one of my dream to see him in person.
Norbert Cyran May 10, 2011 at 03:48 PM
I am writing to extend my deepest sympathies to you and your family. I was very sad to hear about the passing of Bijan. I had the great pleasure to work with him, He was a wonderul guy who I respected greatly. I will always remember him in my prayers. Norbert the Doorman
amir January 04, 2013 at 08:52 PM
dont say anythings

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