When was the last time a party like this came together? You’d have to go back to P. Diddy’s 2004 birthday, as covered by no less than three reporters from The Gray Lady, back when Harold Raines was promising “to flood the zone” on major events… (legally licensed from the NYT)
Some Dreadful Man Misled Her Again, No Doubt
The New York Times, November 9, 2004
By JOYCE WADLER; WITH MELENA Z. RYZIK AND JULIA CHAPLIN
You know the aggravation you have when, say, the ARDMAN bat mitzvah is scheduled the same day as the JONES bat mitzvah?
It was kind of like that Thursday night when the premiere of JAY-Z’s concert film, ”Fade to Black,” was held the very night of P. DIDDY’s birthday coronation, or as the invitation termed it, the Royal Birthday Ball. The buzz on the red carpet involved what everybody was wearing to the Diddy party. Mr. Diddy tends to be rather tyrannical at his events. His invitation — which specified that guests had ”a duty to fulfill” and must dress ”like style icons” — even provided a list of approved designers.
Mr. Z., on the carpet at his own event, was taking it so seriously that when a reporter complimented him on the black great coat with a plush collar, striped shirt and fluffed polka-dotted tie, he got a little upset.
”Oh, no, no, no, no, no, hold on, don’t get it messed up,” he said. ”I got another suit for Puffy’s.”
Mr. Diddy, for his part, showed up at Mr. Z.’s event in track suit and sunglasses. He was in a particularly good mood. When the Hot 97 D.J. SUNNY started to ask him a question, he grabbed her mike. Then, in a voice that reminded us of MARILYN MONROE crooning to J.F.K., he starting singing. ”Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!” he sang. ”Happy birthday, dear Diddy, happy birthday to meeeeeeee!”
There was a shout from somewhere on the line.
”Diddy, I didn’t know you sing!”
”Yeah, I sing. I do it all, baby! ” Mr. Diddy said.
Then he turned his attention back to Sunny’s mike.
”Hot 97, here’s your boy Diddy. I’m here supporting my man HOV” (that would be Jay-Z).
But to the Diddy event, at Cipriani Wall Street.
”In the faraway land of P. Diddy’s royal kingdom where there are grand soirees all the time, there is one grander than all, the Royal Birthday Ball,” the invitation read in part. ”Your code of dress shall begin with silk, velvet and other luxurious fabrics and end beautifully in hand-tailored suits and gorgeous dresses flown in from the fashion houses of Paris.”
The invitation did not stipulate that on the red carpet PARIS HILTON should pull her gown so high that everyone could see she wasn’t wearing any underwear. But that after all is what makes her a fashion icon.
Another elegant moment on the red carpet: TARA REID’s black gown slipping and exposing a breast.
Anyway, it was a grand event.
Violinists serenaded guests at the entrance of the cavernous old bank building. Inside, canopy beds and claw-footed bathtubs had been set up to suggest Mr. Diddy’s notion of royalty — or a back issue of Penthouse. Guests were subjected to a barrage of giant pictures on the wall of the life of P. Diddy: Mr. Diddy with his daddy, Mr. Diddy with NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Mr. Diddy, microphone in hand, stood on a raised platform and babbled on about — who else? — Mr. Diddy.
Among the celebrants: VICTORIA GOTTI in a black strapless gown that looked as if it had been ripped from one of her bodice rippers, MARIAH CAREY in what appeared to be a wedding gown, BRUCE WILLIS, GEORGE HAMILTON, VIKRAM CHATWELL, SANTE D’ORAZIO, ZAC POSEN, DONNA KARAN and BETSEY JOHNSON.
Ms. Hilton, in the early, relatively sedate hours of the party, could be seen chatting and smiling sweetly at P. Diddy’s mom, JANICE COMBS.
(”Oh, what a nice, sweet little girl,” we could see a mom saying later, though not a mom like Ms. Combs, who was wearing a 30′s style white satin gown and white fur stole — and is nobody’s fool.)
Soon after midnight, the room became a sea of cocktails spilling and champagne flutes flying.
NAOMI CAMPBELL danced in a hooded pink evening gown while USHER skulked a few paces behind.
TOMMY HILFIGER, in a gray top hat and three-piece suit, looked a bit dazed.
Eventually, a giant tiered birthday cake was wheeled out and several barely dressed women jumped out and sang — what else — ”Hey, P. Diddy!” Then several modelesque women plucked petals from the rose sculpture and hurled them at him.
”More alcohol!” Mr. Diddy yelled.