NEW YORK — More than 1,000 screaming women, men and children welcomed Sean “Diddy” Combs to Bloomingdale’s Thursday night for the launch of his women’s collection, Sean by Sean Combs.
Before Diddy made his way to the second-floor Y.E.S. department at Bloomingdale’s uptown, models decked in looks from his holiday collection were on hand posing for photographers, dancing and lip-synching to the hip-hop mix booming from the sound system.
Just then a gaggle of girls, known to MTV viewers as the finalists in Diddy’s reality show “Making the Band,” sauntered down the aisle in Sean by Sean Combs midriff-baring hoodies, low-cut, cropped sweatpants and mile-high stilettoes. Diddy’s unofficial anthem, “Bad Boy for Life,” blasted through the speakers and the hip-hop mogul, flanked by models, made his way through the Sean by Sean Combs merchandise.
“I want to thank my boy, my brother, Kal Ruttenstein, who’s always decked out in Sean John,” Diddy said once he made his way to the makeshift stage. Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale’s senior vice president of fashion direction, was seated next to Diddy wearing an orange Sean John T-shirt.
This isn’t the first time Diddy and Bloomingdale’s have partnered. In 1999, Diddy launched his men’s collection, Sean John, at the 59th Street store. “When I started Sean John, Bloomingdale’s was one of the stores that came and supported me. In the contemporary world, they are the leaders,” Diddy said. Jenny La Fata, vice president of design for Sean by Sean Combs, and Wendy Chivian, senior vice president of Sean John women’s apparel, were also present to celebrate the launch.
“It’s not hip-hop or urban, and it’s not wear-to-work clothes,” Ruttenstein said, “but it’s for a sophisticated buyer. It’s anything from Ts that fit really well to coats with fur-trim collars.”
In addition to the 400 square feet the merchandise occupies next to names like Juicy Couture, Catherine Malandrino and Robert Rodriguez, Diddy’s collection is on view in the store’s windows facing Third Avenue. “I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Diddy said of his placement in the windows. “It’s made it that more exciting and historic.”
So far, top sellers from the collection include a charcoal popcorn hoodie that retails at Bloomingdale’s for $395, a rabbit vest that retails for $395, and a black satin bustier dress, which retails for $350.
“The response has been great. It’s hard to launch the line with a different name, but people have been surprised in a positive way. This collection has a level of sophistication, beauty and softness,” Diddy said.
“People have to be patient with the evolution of the brand. The women’s market is the market. This takes time.”