Michael J. Snell
In what is arguably one of the world’s most opulent cities (currently home to the world’s most expensive private residence for sale) resides a humble, entrepreneurial couple.
They've graced TV screens and editorial pages, and that is praised widely on social media – and you’d never think anything less by their carriage. Roxy Sowalty and Nicolas Bijan Pakzad were first introduced by mutual friends in their teens, and from that meeting, a lifetime together would be planned and spent.
Growing up simultaneously in upscale Los Angeles, the pair formed a quick and tight bond as they matured together. In late 2018, Nicolas made the move to propose to Roxy in an impromptu surprise, cornering her on the Pont des Arts in Paris and proclaiming his love. Roxy, without hesitation, accepted.
Together, the couple has made waves through a myriad of smart dealings. Roxy, an extremely successful interior designer, has been profiled with the elite of her generation for her refined and luxuriously simplistic taste that has the biggest personalities clambering after her consultation. All while Nicolas, who is co-CEO of the Bijan retail empire, manages the business and its duty to provide the ultimate in bespoke apparel. Both hover around that 30-year-old mark (we’ll let you guess who is older) and are enjoying their newlywed lifestyle at a home just minutes from Rodeo Drive.
Joined by their pup, Red, who is a sprightful and sassy Vizsla, the trio lives in a 1941 estate found in classic Beverly Hills. Recently, the couple reminisced on first finding their fabulous abode while house shopping. “When we got to see it, finally, it was even more beautiful and charming and [to]us than we had imagined,” mentioned Roxy. “The gates open to this magical bridge, and you ascend into the middle of nowhere, with oak trees and deer.” The home itself is in a traditional bungalow style but on a sprawling acre-and-a-half property. First built by the Pillsbury family and then later acquired by vocalist Taylor Swift, the Bijans are the third property owners.
Consisting of four bedrooms and five baths, this estate has been tastefully modified to reflect both of their personal styles. “We’re definitely a very fun couple, and we wanted the house to reflect that and our travels,” said Roxy of her approach to blending tradition with contemporary touches. You’ll find a Botero sculpture inherited from Bijan resting on the coffee table, a Slim Aarons photograph hanging over the fireplace, and one of Roxy’s favorite pieces: a wood-carved, banana leaf chair that belonged to her friend Josh Flagg’s late grandmother, Edith.
The tasteful combination of classic and modern cues would have any style aficionado and designer alike drooling. Leave it to Roxy to incorporate thoughtful elements such as designing with notable Bijan color palettes or utilizing a posh fabric that was originally envisioned to be used as a tablecloth in the couple’s Villa d’Este nuptial décor, has since been re-imagined into the space.
The power couple tied the knot in December 2020 in their backyard, which was still magically intimate, given that a wedding abroad was hindered by current pandemic restrictions. Planned in just a month’s time, the couple decided that it was time to seal the deal and still were able to give one heck of a presentation. Including personal touches like a Bijan Silk Face Mask for each guest (who had also partaken in a drive-through Covid test provided for safety), guests also were delighted to sip cocktails featuring Bijan-branded ‘B’ ice cubes. Roxy placed her touch on the ceremony with tasteful florals, custom fabrics that were mirrored in lace on her wedding dresses (that’s correct, two – one for the reception) designed by Reem Arca and even snuck in some late-night catering that consisted of McDonald’s Happy Meals. Nicholas, naturally sporting Bijan on the big day, also chose to have a second outfit, changing into an off-white, silk dinner jacket with a shawl collar and satin cuffs. Unusual, but not impossible for a fashion icon heir to pull off, it turned into a buzzy, requested look following the event. “Since the night of the wedding, a few customers have ordered the same jacket after seeing our photos,” said Nicolas, who was photographed in it on the dance floor of the estate’s transformed motor court.
The aforementioned motor court, a novelty to have in a dense city, is usually home to an established collection of vehicles, including a Bugatti Veyron, a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead and an Aston Martin Superleggera, all clad in signature Bijan styling of vibrant yellow and tasteful accents. When not parked at their gorgeous home, the motorcars can be found right out front of the Bijan store on Rodeo Drive. The store, which had recently moved to its new home and flagship location, is now larger and can serve clients with an updated view from Nicolas. He’s introducing slimmer styling, a versatile accessories line and expansion that brings on additional boutiques at The Wynn in Las Vegas and the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. This appointment-only store provides a dedicated level of service that is required of its elite frequenters.
Inspired by his father’s drive of success, Bijan is noted for garnering the world’s finest international brands to put alongside the Rodeo location. Keeping the business for 45 years is no small task, Nicolas noted, “The most important thing that he (my father) instilled was quality over quantity. He always said, ‘We’re not a rich-enough brand to make things cheap.’ Our prices are very high, but if you can afford it, we’re not expensive.” And rightly so, the Bijan family is in the business of the best of the best.
Together, this couple is a modern-day representation of the American dream – both utilizing their talents and skillset to build upon the goals that they hope to achieve. It’s apparent given they both have a designer’s eye for tasteful elegance, we will see great things to come from the Bijan’s – possibly a Bijan Home Collection… who knows, but wouldn’t it be fabulous?
Michael J. Snell Lifestyles Contributor Polo Lifestyles 2021