Yolanda was on a flight back home to LA earlier this week. And recently our pocketbook has become a bit pinched, so unfortunately we were herded like cattle on a hideous commercial flight, and not our preferred private method of travel. Anyway, we tuned out the ugly screaming babies and the grouchy plebes around us by watching the Avicii: True Stories documentary, which we highly recommend.
For those of y’all non-hip folks, Avicii — real name Tim Bergling — was a Swedish fellow who was one of the world’s highest-earning DJs during the early 2010s. DJs are the new rockstars, kids, and Mr. Bergling made untold tens of millions during his short career. Sadly, Mr. Bergling also suffered from acute depression, stress, and serious substance abuse. There was also the issue of his too-aggressive management team — allegedly — but that’s a story for another day. Just watch the documentary if y’all want to learn more.
This April (2018), Mr. Bergling committed suicide in a particularly grisly manner. He was just 28 years old.
Coincidentally, just as we were arriving home it was revealed that Mr. Bergling’s estate sold his Hollywood Hills mansion in a secret off-market deal for a huge sum of money: $17,500,000, to be exact. And Yolanda finds no evidence of a mortgage in public records, so all signs point to the buyer having paid ca$h.
Speaking of the buyer, that person’s name was not (publicly) revealed, but naturally we were curious about his/her identity, particularly since $17.5 million cash is several truckloads of dough. And this is also 2018’s biggest sale so far in the trendy Bird Streets area. Unfortunately, the buyer’s identity is shielded behind an LLC, but Yolanda did some askin’ and sniffin’ around and we can tell y’all who now has the keys to the Avicii palace. He is a man, and his name is Richard Saghian.
Most of our readers have likely never heard of Mr. Saghian, but rest assured that he is a very, very, very rich fellow. And if you use the Instagram contraption with any frequency, you have probably seen Mr. Saghian’s products being hawked on the platform. Particularly if you follow trendsetting female celebrities.
Our Mr. Saghian, you see, is the owner, founder, and CEO of Fashion Nova, which is arguably the most famous and successful Instagram brand — “Instabrand”, for short — of them all. Fashion Nova has more than 13 million followers on the ‘gram, and last year it was the fourth-most-Googled fashion brand in all the world: ahead of Chanel and behind only Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Supreme. That’s all the more shocking and impressive because the discount clothing retailer was virtually nonexistent five years ago, save for a handful of small stores here in LA.
In 2013, however, Mr. Saghian discovered the power of e-commerce and social media. He began forging relationships with many of Instagram’s top female “influencers” — particularly ladies with curvy, plus-size bodies — to promote his clothing. And though he still has a small handful of physical stores here in LA, the vast majority of his company’s sales now come from the online realm.
Hot celebrities of the moment such as Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and the Kardashians promote Fashion Nova on their accounts. And they promote it so often and routinely that we have to wonder how much Mr. Saghian is paying these ladies on a monthly basis. Hundreds of thousands? Millions? After all, these gals are some of Instagram’s top “influencers” and we doubt they peddle Mr. Saghian’s products out of the kindness of their hearts.
But whatever the cost, it is clearly worth it to Mr. Saghian. His new $17.5 million house is proof of that. And though he declines to state Fashion Nova’s annual revenue, he admitted that sales grew a jaw-dropping 600% in 2017. Safe to say that Fashion Nova is probably close to becoming a billion-dollar (revenue) brand, if it ain’t there already.
Despite the fact that Fashion Nova is now very famous, Mr. Saghian himself eschews publicity, remaining almost reclusive. He rarely gives interviews — he has said they make him uncomfortable — and he does not seem to frequent the LA social scene. We do know that he is in his late 30s, appears to be unmarried, and was born and raised in Beverly Hills — his parents are wealthy Iranian-American immigrants.
But we digress. Let’s discuss the house, which sits on the most famous Bird Streets street: Blue Jay Way, immortalized in psychedelic-influenced song by the Beatles. And for those who may not be aware, the Bird Streets have long been the most desirable (and likewise most expensive) area of the Hollywood Hills. They sit just east of Beverly Hills and directly overlook the Sunset Strip and the bustling city of West Hollywood.
Because this most recent transaction took place completely off-market, we do not have recent photos to share with y’all. Apologies. The pictures below are from 2013, when Mr. Bergling originally purchased the property. During his 4+ years of ownership, Mr. Bergling made substantial alterations to the house, though the basic structure and look remains intact. Keep that in mind and more details on those alterations in a moment.
The striking 7,007-square-foot mansion was drawn up by highly acclaimed architect Paul McClean — it was one of his first LA house designs — and built in 2008 on speculation by a real estate developer named Brad Kuish and interior designer Ryan Brown. The following year, the ultra-contemporary pad was sold for exactly $10 million to haircare entrepreneur Bruno Mascolo and his wife Kyara.
Eventually, along came Mr. Avicii. He scooped the property up in late 2013, when he was just a wee 24-year-old lad.
There are 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in the sleekly bi-winged residence, which is mostly hidden from the street out front by thick hedges and such. A four-car garage faces the street and most of the walls are of the glassy disappearing variety. Sure to impress guests is the dramatic entryway: a gated courtyard with fountains and fire features leads to a concrete walkway over the pool, which in turn leads to the front door of the manse.
Soaring, unobstructed views take in a huge swathe of Los Angeles: everything from the San Gabriel Mountains to the skyscrapers of Downtown LA and Century City, to (on a clear day) the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. The 75-foot pool has a sunbathing shelf and the surrounding terraces have various outdoor dining and lounging options in a quintessentially Southern California style.
Indoors, the living room sports a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass with more of those mesmerizing views. The kitchen is done up in a rather austere (yet chic) manner with stainless steel, metal accents, and top-of-the-line appliances. Chocolate brown hardwood floors grace most of the main rooms, and there is also a home theater with tiered seating, a game room, and a large wine cellar.
Upstairs is the master suite, which sports a sitting area, a walk-in dressing room with a lurid hot pink (or is it red?) chandelier, and an expansive all-marble bathroom with dual vanities, striking westward views, a built-in soaking tub, and a glassy shower. As for the house itself, it is cramped on a sloped .31-acre lot, so there really is no yard to speak of. But who needs a yard with that view, right?
Records reveal that this is not the first Hollywood Hills house purchased by Mr. Saghian. Back in 2016, he paid $4,105,000 for a 1960-built structure less than 10 minutes by car from his new house. Though that place is not currently on the market, Yolanda fully expects him to sell it very soon.
Speaking of his new house, some of Mr. Saghian’s nearest new neighbors include Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Westfield heir Peter Lowy, Walmart heiress Whitney Kroenke, Walmart heiress Paige Laurie, and Walmart heiress Sybil Robson Orr.
Anywho. We know that some of you are probably thinking that $17.5 million is a ton of money for the Bird Streets place and that Mr. Bergling’s estate probably raked in millions in profit. But the truth is that Mr. Bergling actually spent close to that during his short ownership of this house, kiddies. You see, he paid $15,550,000 for the structure in late 2013. But very soon after he reportedly discovered a termite infestation — and ended up remodeling the entire house in a two-year-long process. And that kind of remodeling takes cash. Lots of it.
So you see, this house was Mr. Bergling’s biggest life splurge — easily — and yet he only got to live in it for a year or two, at most. A bit sad, that.
Mr. Bergling’s final post on Instagram — just days before his untimely death — was a haunting, poignant image of him crossing the concrete bridge at his LA home. Beyond him and the glass walls lay all of Los Angeles, the skyline stretching for miles to a horizon so distant it is almost nonexistent. Young Mr. Bergling had it all: success, fame, fortune. Yet everyone — rich or poor — has their own struggles. For some of us it’s sitting with the peasants on a commercial airline, but for many it is much more serious.
Yolanda isn’t quite sure how to wrap this story up. We don’t normally preach or give advice, but we’ll just say be kind — y’all never know what someone else is going through.