By  on August 2, 2007

NEW YORK — Sean "Diddy" Combs isn't giving up on women.

The hip-hop mogul is in the news for his personal drama with ex-girlfriend Kim Porter, and his company Sean John has had difficulties in women's apparel in the past. But Combs is preparing several major launches in the women's category, beginning with the introduction of his fragrance with the Estée Lauder Cos., Unforgivable for Women, which will begin rolling out in October and is expected to top $45 million in the U.S. in its first year. Meanwhile, on the apparel end, Combs will introduce Sean John junior sportswear this coming holiday after a soft launch for spring.

In apparel, it's a case of try, try again for Combs. The holiday introduction will be his second official attempt at launching a women's collection. His contemporary line, Sean by Sean Combs, closed in March 2006 after being at retail for less than a year. That collection only brought in $3.5 million in wholesale volume during its first six months on the selling floor. While that isn't considered bad for a new contemporary designer collection, it isn't the high volume Combs is used to seeing: at the time, he did $450 million at retail with Sean John men's and now brings in $500 million in retail volume.

"A lot of people in this business can't admit when they are not ready and I wasn't ready for the contemporary category," Combs said. "It was such an aggressive category and I got off to a good start, but I knew I was so far away from where I wanted to be based on my competition. When I made the decision to close Sean by Sean Combs, what I wanted to do was take the time to gain the knowledge in contemporary. I think it was better for me to get out then and go back to it four years down the line, four years smarter.

"What I learned is that no matter how much hype there is surrounding a line, in women's you have to be up for the fight. I still plan to come back with that line in a couple of years. It was in great stores and I would rather leave those stores while I had a good relationship and be able to come back. I would rather do it that way than have them kick me out."

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