Stepping into the ring for Fifth Avenue title rights, Sean John has opened its first store due east of the grand lion statues that guard the New York Public Library (475 Fifth Avenue, at 41st Street; 212-220-2633). It’s a blingless stretch of real estate, but for label head Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, the shop is less about the glory than about the Benjamins.
In a nod to his mentor Ralph Lauren, the 3,500-square-foot hip-hop domain is replete with rich ebony floors, pony-skin furniture, and all the scented candles, silver picture frames, weighty coffee-table books, and $2,800 goat-fur throws essential to fine living. For the Diddy remix, there are Jonathan Adler ceramics, Fifi and Romeo pet accessories, and—starting in a couple of weeks—Jacob the Jeweler’s diamond-encrusted watches. And come mid-October, the high-end Sean John signature collection will be in stock, too—a $750 paisley silk evening jacket offers a sneak peek.
It would all be quite excessive if it weren’t for the bread-and-butter merchandise that fills the store: logo-emblazoned baseball caps, T-shirts (the latest have monograms in the style of YSL’s), and $192 velour warm-up suits, all displayed under flat-screen TVs looping Diddy’s music videos. He may be selling aspiration, but he also knows to take care of the bottom line.