In an exclusive interview with CNN Style, Nicolas Bijan, CEO and Owner of House of Bijan, explains how Paul Manafort was just another good customer. However, the way in which Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman paid for his couture pieces was enough to catch their attention – by wire transfer from a foreign bank.
The wire transfers, reportedly made from bank accounts in Cyprus, were revealed during the first week of Manafort’s trial on tax and bank fraud charges. The opening days of the case have centred around the defendant’s reportedly lavish lifestyle.
Internal records, submitted to the court by the House of Bijan and as seen by CNN, show that Manafort spent a total of $520,000 at House of Bijan over a five-year period.
His wardrobe included a $21,000 limited edition Bijan black titanium “Royal Way” wristwatch with crystal, an $18,000 suede beige coat and 18 cotton shirts, in assorted colours, bought for $24,600. Not to mention five silk tie sets costing $6,700.
Also in the interview, Bijan outlines the history of the business and describes some of the boutique’s most unique features as CNN Style takes an exclusive inside look at the famous store.
Key Quotes below:
Nicolas Bijan on the way in which Paul Manafort would make his purchases:
“It's not typical to pay by wire transfer from a foreign bank. A majority of our clients pay by credit card. Occasionally we'll have a client who wants to pay with wire transfer. But that's unusual."
Bijan on why asking Manafort was not asked where the money was coming from:
“We don’t ask our clients how they come into wealth or where the money is from. It’s none of our business – that would be overreaching. To be honest with you, I think I can fairly say we never even knew what he did for a living.”
Bijan on Manafort’s purchases, which date back decades:
“He was a regular and long-time customer. You can see he has pieces from many years ago, from the 80s and 90s, and even recent pieces that we designed for his collection.”
Bijan on his company visiting Manafort at a hotel in 2011:
“We visit our clients all over the world if they’re not available to visit us on Rodeo Drive. In the last year, I was in Abu Dhabi several times, Jakarta, Indonesia and London quite frequently.”
Bijan on his business’ unique exclusivity and luxury:
“My father always taught me that [our brand] is not rich enough… to make things cheap. There’s a lot of mystery behind our brand and a lot of people who criticize Bijan are people who don’t understand, because they’ve simply never been here. We make one of two of each piece. That way you know there’s only one or two in the world, and most probably you’ll never see someone wearing the same tie as you. For us men – don’t ask why – psychologically that means a lot to us.”
Source: Ketchum Raad