His presence is ubiquitous in the realm over which he rules without hesitation. Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (35), the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, no longer only appears in public portraits or state media. It also sets a trend in fashion, a field in which – like other areas – its movements are not without controversy. The moment that has become viral happened a few days ago, during the participation of the future king in the Board of Directors of the Public Investment Fund, the local sovereign fund with 320,000 million dollars in assets that have closed millionaire purchases in times of pandemic. The thirty-something appeared at the meeting with a sleeveless jacket in tobacco and emerald tones that aroused the curiosity of Internet users.
In a matter of hours, interest in the garment climbed to the top of searches on the Saudi Google page. Then those who located the object discovered with surprise the origin of the coat and its price. The jacket is in the fall-winter collection of Franck Namani, an exclusive British boutique with branches in Paris and Geneva. It is sold for 24,000 Saudi riyals (about 5,400 euros) in the firm’s virtual store, only accessible after registration. According to the Saudi press, the sudden outburst by local subjects led to the end of the garment’s stock and technical problems on the website, which is still under maintenance today. His followers have praised his taste while other Internet users have denounced the price as another excess of the crown prince. With that money I could pay my rent for a whole year, has slipped a tweet that declared itself in favor of his highness.
It is not the first time that Bin Salman’s waste has become the subject of public criticism. The delicate economic situation of the country, aggravated by the coronavirus and the drastic fall in the price of oil, has accompanied its meteoric rise in recent years. And, despite the austerity policies imposed on his subjects, his way of life has not stopped. More than five years ago, he acquired the Serene, a yacht previously owned by Yuri Shefler, a Russian tycoon, for $ 500 million. In 2015, he also acquired the most expensive mansion in the world, a mansion located on the outskirts of Paris valued at 300 million dollars (about 275 million euros).
Last September a book unveiled a passage that also portrays his passion for the good life. In the summer of 2015, the young man threw a glitzy party at Velaa Private Island, a super-luxury resort located on a private island in the Maldives. Bin Salman fully rented the property for a month to avoid prying eyes and watered the establishment’s staff, some 300 people, with a bonus of $ 5,000 – half of their annual salary – to ensure that they maintained the required discretion and they complied with the ban on bringing mobile phones to the island.
There were 150 women and some of the most recognized artists of the moment. Since his father, the current King Salman (85) catapulted him, Bin Salman has forged a controversial legacy, marked by the brutal civil war in Yemen that exacerbated the Saudi bombing campaign; the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul; or the persecution of other members of the vast Saudi royal family or any hint of dissent.