As far as launches go, Calvin Klein’s new fragrance, Secret Obsession, hardly had a fuel engine behind it. First TV networks deemed a commercial for the much-hyped new fragrance starring Eva Mendes too racy, refusing to air it without modifications. Then last night the launch party scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. at 421 Broome Street — or, as you may know it, the building in which Heath Ledger died — was dramatically canceled. When we arrived at 7:08 eagerly awaiting a party as sexy as that commercial we’ll never see, we encountered not painted ladies but a police car approaching, sirens blaring and lights flashing. Two officers emerged from the vehicle, sending publicists for Calvin Klein and Eva Mendes, the fragrance’s face and evening’s host, running haywire in the drizzle, telling anyone who might be a photographer or reporter the event was canceled. That was not very sexy news.
From what we overheard between the police officers and two men who seemed to be representatives of 421 Broome and the party planners, it sounded like the building proprietor pulled the plug on the bash because the building was a residence and didn’t have a permit to accommodate all the guests. Or something. We spotted a makeup artist we knew leaving the building; she said the space was set up and ready for a hearty party — a band, models, the works. Pout. It would’ve been a good one.
Mendes, meanwhile, never brought her racy self to 421 Broome. We heard the party had been moved to Barolo on West Broadway, so we headed over hoping we could catch her there. A few blocks west a whole new set of people were assembled, mostly foreign press who flew in just for the now-canceled party. Since the circumstances surrounding our attendance weren’t quite so dramatic, the publicists wouldn’t let us inside the party, which seemed like last-minute damage control since we were originally allowed to cover the event had it occurred as planned at 421 Broome. And so we pitifully waited outside for Mendes but never spotted her. Sober, downtrodden, and damp, we turned to leave. As we stalked away from the crowd outside Barolo, we heard one fragrance rep lament to another, “We’re going to get a lot of bad press from this.” —Sharon Clott