Diddy's Big Night

The dapper rapper waded into a melange of celebrities ranging from Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Nelly, Kelis and Ashanti to the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, Pamela Anderson and Ben Stiller.

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Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman

Photo By Steve Eichner

NEW YORK — "This is a defining moment in black history," said Sean "Diddy" Combs, at a star-studded party at Manhattan's Core Club celebrating the launch of his new fragrance, Unforgivable. "Black designers don't get a lot of opportunities like this. But I am challenging all men and women of color to reach for the top."

The dapper rapper — who arrived fashionably late to the bash, a good two hours after the start time — waded into a mélange of celebrities ranging from Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Nelly, Kelis and Ashanti to the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, Pamela Anderson and Ben Stiller. Quietly talking in the sea of hip-hop stars and rappers were the corporate pillars — Terry Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Federated Department Stores, and William Lauder, president and ceo of the Estée Lauder Cos., which is producing and marketing the scent. Warner Music Group chairman and ceo Edgar Bronfman Jr. also walked in.

Asked what he was doing at a fragrance party, Lundgren said: "When Sean calls," he makes an effort. And for good reason. The fragrance has been on sale at Macy's Herald Square for two days and already it has shot to number three. That is without the support of advertising, sampling, modeling or testers — just from walk-through traffic. "I entirely expect it to go to number one," he said.

"I'm thrilled," was the predictable response from Lauder. "He's got a real sense of what is going on," Lauder said of Diddy. "He's got his finger on the pulse." He said that Lauder's relationships with Missoni, Tom Ford and Diddy all "open us to taking different directions in business, different possibilities. They give us what we need to stay fresh with those consumers."

Nelly looked quite debonair in a cream-colored blazer and matching sweater. Flashing his diamond-encrusted grill, he brushed his shoulder off as Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" played overhead.

When later asked if he might find some new licensing deals in the surrounding swirl of rappers and high-wattage lookers, Lauder shot back: "Why not? Who's here?" Looking around, he noted that he's already signed some of them. "Pam's already a part of the MAC family. And I'm not doing a ‘Zoolander' fragrance," he said, referring to Stiller.
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