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What a set up. Golden tickets read “P. Diddy and Guy Oseary have granted you access to ‘The Greatest Party of All Time,’” and came packaged with a tiny scrap book full of nostalgic, sepia-toned photos of Puffy parties gone by. Ah, the fabled Hamptons White Party, the New Year’s Eve party in Miami. “Remember you have been selected,” the invitation warned. “It’s an honor to be part of history in the making.”

Sure there were other parties in town, but after MTV’s Video Music Awards on Thursday night, guests high-tailed it over to P. Diddy’s blowout, co-sponsored by Reebok, at Cipriani. Security was tight. Anticipation ran high.

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Inside, Mike Meyers stood mesmerized under the gold glitter-dipped nude dancers listlessly grinding away in cages above the dance floor. Paris and Nicky Hilton, Sophie Dahl, Sean Lennon and Anthony Keidis wandered amidst gangsta types, PYTs so Y that one worried for their safety, and those square record execs in bad suits (pick up line: “Let’s do a shot!”).

But there wasn’t a VIP area until Mr. Diddy arrived at 12:45 a.m. Guards as big as tanks cordoned off a platform three steps above the dance floor and created a testing ground worthy of “Lord of the Flies.” Mary J. Blige, Lisa Marie Presley, Ed Norton, Usher and Missy Elliot whisked by. Puffy party veteran Donatella Versace was quickly ensconced on a dais. Heath Ledger pushed his way past the guards, only to be pushed right back out again. Sheryl Crow came, conquered the crowd and made a quick exit, as did Avril Lavigne, who deemed her first Puffy party, “cool,” nonetheless. And the minions pressed, trying so hard to be VIPs.

For her part, Gisele Bündchen stuck to the dance floor, shaking a mane of tiny Bo Derek style braids. “You know I always love to dance,” she shouted over the din.

Apparently, however, there weren’t enough people making like Gisele to keep Diddy happy. After all, at The Greatest Party of All Time, you’d expect guests to break a sweat. “This is the best party of the Millennium!” the DJ shouted at the crowd. “There are 10,000 people out in the street who want to come in here, so get on the dance floor!”

But sometimes if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. P. Diddy made his way over to the DJ booth at around 2 a.m. and grabbed the mic. “Get your ass up and out on the dance floor NOW!” he thundered.

That’s the trouble with sequels. Try as he might, the legend of P. Diddy is just too hard to top.

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