Monday, July 24, 2006
Boy was my humble Los Feliz studio busy this week! After all it is not every day that the "Miss Universe Pageant" rolls into Los Angeles. It is usually held in some far-flung locale such as Thailand, Cancun, Cyprus or Manila. A week before the contest, I got a call from Nancy O'Dell's stylist, whom I have worked with before and is such a great friend. I proposed to design a gown that Nancy would wear at the live telecast of the pageant. ONE WEEK before the contest!!! David and I went on OVERDRIVE(as well as my faithful seamstresses!). Mind you, I had classes to teach, and had to fly to San Francisco to do a "Learning Annex" as well. Needless to say, I think I slept maybe a total of 4 hours last week. The gown , as seen here, turned out to be a "showstopper", complementing her figure and her skin color and showcasing my design aesthetic. About a month prior to last night's pageant, I learned my friend Brook Lee would be attending as a former "Miss Universe" and the last "Miss USA" to win the prestigious title back in 1997. I designed her a fabulous gown of navy and cream flower-printed silk, featuring my "Angel-Wing" cascade-ruffle back and a tulip silhouette. I told her she looked like the beautiful mistress of a wealthy European sugar-plantation owner in Hawaii. All she needed was a fan (she had one!) A day before the big night, Tamiko Nash , "Miss California 2006" and the First Runner Up to Miss USA, also came by my studio and she chose a one-shouldered canary-yellow asymmetrical silk charmeuse dress that looked glorious against her copper skin color. My beautiful sister, Rita Verreos, who is a former "Miss Venezuela" finalist and now trains the "Miss California USA" winners, also made a visit to round off my contingency of "Nick Verreos/Nikolaki" beauties of the world. She wore an emerald green silk gown featuring a criss-cross bust drape and (wait for it!) yes, my infamous FISHTAIL HEM!!! You might have thought that I would be on "Cloud Nine" with so many stunning beauties wearing my dresses but all I kept thinking about was if the sweat (Ok, they do not sweat, they perspire) was staining the expensive silk under the 100 Degree humid weather that we were suffering Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. All in all , I was ecstatic to have lived this great moment and did feel that I had gotten a "Coup D'Etat" of sorts, by having so many of my gowns worn on one night. At the "Coronation Ball", it was a unique experience hobnobbing with all the "Miss Universe" contestants and VIP guests. At one point judge and famed photographer, Patrick McMullan, approached a group of us because we were all in Black and White and started snapping away. This little surreal group included ,"Miss Ireland", Nancy O'Dell, her husband, Carson Kressley,"Miss Sri Lanka" and myself. It doesn't get much better than that!! After the contest, I also felt proud for fellow "Project Runway" designer, Kayne Gillespie, who basically got his "Barbie moment" and career zenith by winning the "Miss USA Challenge" and having Tara Conner wear his design for over 600 million viewers in 170 countries to see. Congrats to Kayne for getting that coup! *And yes, if you look closely at the first picture, that IS the back of Donald Trump's head! David was sitting a few rows behind him. Good job Mr. Trump, no bald spot!!