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SOSOCAL : WHAT ARE YOU COLLECTING?

Bijan, Designer

November 19, 2000|LESLEE KOMAIKO

"In 1996, I bought 23 Napoleonic swords from Butterfield & Butterfield," says Bijan, who, like Madonna and Cher, is on a one-name basis with the world. "They are all hand-painted, with gold leaf. Some have jewels." The designer keeps the swords, for which he paid nearly $750,000, in a "very old, huge olive jar" in his eponymous Rodeo Drive men's showroom. "It's very difficult to excite a lady about a sword," he says. "But men from all over the world love [them]. A few weeks ago I had the president of a country in and he pulled one out and complimented it.

I said, 'Be careful,' as in 'Be careful to handle the sword with love. ' Of course, I don't mind if anyone touches my swords, but a little part of me hates it." As a boy, Bijan wasn't especially interested in swords. "It's not like when I was a teenager I wanted to be a fencer," he says. "But as a men's designer, I like to collect things that are very masculine that can inspire me. I don't collect things for the monetary value."

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