...And what a year it was. Everywhere I read, people are writing "End of Year Lists" so I have decided to do a list of my own for this blog. I have always used this blogsite more like a non-private diary/journal of my life during and post-Project Runway, so when I get old and retire to Palm Springs with my hand-picked pool boy, I can look back at these crazy and exciting times with a huge "Uncle Nick" smile.
Everywhere I go, the NUMBER ONE QUESTION people ask me, whether it is at an airport, at a hotel lobby, while shopping, or waiting for the bathroom at a bar, is always "What have you been up to?" Now, I can tell them to go to this blogsite and read my "Year In Review".
JANUARY: I returned to designing my line, Nikolaki, in Los Angeles as well as teaching at FIDM, just as it was before I did the show. My season was in full swing and featured my favorite episode, "All Dolled Up". Much to the delight of my unsuspecting friends and family, I win this challenge which concludes with having a "My Scene Barbie" with my name, sold at Toys 'R' Us across the nation as well as on EBay! My second favorite episode, the "Nicky Hilton Challenge", also was shown during this time, and soon afterwards, I am designing a red carpet gown for "Desperate Housewives" actress, Brenda Strong for the Screen Actor's Guild Awards (SAG). The violet-colored bias-cut silk charmeuese gown subsequently ends up in several "Best Dresses of 2006 Awards Season", much to my delight.
FEBRUARY: A sad, yet exciting month for me. I was "Auf'ed" from Season Two of "Project Runway". I remember it as if it was yesterday: I was actually filming the "Reunion Episode" in New York the night my final episode aired. My cell phone was vibrating non-stop as I sat patiently answering questions from the unflappable Tim Gunn and the gorgeous Heidi Klum. All I wanted to do was hide under a Manhattan rock and go hibernate.
All that changed when I received a phone call from NBC and Bravo executives, asking me if I would like to fly to Torino, Italy to do a "fashion segment" on the Olympic Figure Skating Costumes. Needless to say, after I hung up, I ran around my studio like a "chicken with its head cut off", from the excitement. I flew to Italy and spent two weeks filming 2 seperate segments for NBC and USA Networks as well as enjoyed some "down time" visiting cities such as Milan for some shopping, of course.
Towards the latter part of this month, I was also asked to participate in the Chicago Casting/Judging for Season 3 of "Project Runway". From that casting, we picked Kayne Gillespie, who went on to become a "fan favorite".
MARCH: The highlight of this month was when I was asked to design the "Awareness Green Ribbon/Pin" for the Latin Billboard Awards , and its sponsor, Heineken for the Celia Cruz Foundation. And I got a trip to Miami and South Beach, to boot. Last year, Cuban-American designer, Narciso Rodriguez designed the ribbons . I designed two separate ribbons: A "Bling-Bling" one, featuring a sterling silver pin, with emerald-colored Swarovski crystals, which was worn by Latin-fusion band, Ozomatli. The simpler one, which was worn by all the artists attending the award show, was made of green satin with a red star, simulating the Heineken logo.
JUNE: Frontier's Magazine, a Southern California publication geared to the LGBT community signed me on as their "Style Guy". I began writing bi-monthly articles "for the gay guy", on everything from "Femme Is In", to "Why You Should Not Wear Black To A Commitment Ceremony". I would soon be writing a lot more.
JULY: Season 3 of "Project Runway" had just debuted and I got a call from People Magazine to write a weekly blog for their sister website, People.com. I began giving my funny yet insightful take on each week's episodes in a blog titled, "The Inside Dish With Nick Verreos". Soon afterward, Bravotv.com asked me to have these recaps be featured in their site as well. They were so well received that I consequently signed on to do a bi-monthly blog on their "Fashion Forward" section. I was glad to discover that I loved writing but at the same time, was surprised at the amount of time (HOURS!) a seemingly simple 500-word article can take. Needless to say, I have newfound respect for writers and bloggers alike.
July was also "Pageant Month" for me. I designed the gown that "Access Hollywood's" Nancy O'Dell wore to host the "Miss Universe Pageant" in Los Angeles. The gown was a black paillete-embroidered lace over baby-blue silk, in a "High-low" silhouette, featuring that one detail everyone makes fun of me for: The Fishtail Hem. I also designed the canary-yellow silk charmeuse dress that Tamiko Nash, "Miss California" and Tara Conner's ("Miss USA") First Runner Up, as well as a navy-and-white flower print gown for Brook Lee who was "Miss Universe 1997". I dubbed it my "Miss Universe" coup of dresses.
To cap this busy month, I debuted my line, Nikolaki, at Emmett McCarthy's fabulous Nolita boutique, EMc2, along with Season 2 alumni designers, winner Chloe Dao and Kara Janx and made a trip to Seattle, Washington to attend and host the Student Finale Show for that city's International Academy of Design and Technology(IADT).
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER: I attended the GLAAD(Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards at the Kodak Theater, along with Santino Rice, Andrae Gonzalo, and Tim Gunn. Soon afterwards, I flew to San Francisco to actually present the "Outstanding Spanish-Language Newspaper Article" Award at that city's GLAAD Media Awards, hosted by Meghan Mullally and Carson Kressley. I also flew to Chicago to host a wonderful and successful fundraiser and fashion show for the ALMA Foundation. Since then, I have also made appearances and presentations for various other worthwhile foundations such as the Trevor Project and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, hopefully bringing attention and showcasing the positive work they do.
In September, I went back to New York City for NY Olympus Fashion Week, to attend the "Project Runway" Finale Fashion Show as well as Jay McCarroll's debut at the tents. I took advantage of my time in NY by joining Emmett, Chloe, Tim and other "Project Runway" designers in another successful Trunk Show and shopping event at Nolita's EMc2.
OCTOBER: Bravo's Top Chef Season2 premiered and I was contacted to design the "Top Chef Apron" that was to be sold on Bravo's website, Bravotv.com.
October was also the month of Los Angeles Fashion Week and in lieu of showing my line(I had previously three years ago had my fashion show at the Smashbox Fashion Week tents), I co-hosted(along with actress Garcelle Beauvais) the "GenArt Fresh Faces In Fashion" at the Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hanger. I also received the honor to present the West Coast Director of GenArt an award for excellence at the second annual Los Angeles Fashion Awards.
I also received an exciting opportunity from one of the nation's top dress and sportswear manufacturer, Windsor Fashions. They asked me to design a capsule "Nick Verreos for Windsor Fashions" collection of cocktail and prom dresses . Finally, I thought, every 16-18 year-old girl all over the country can get a piece of "Uncle Nick" at a fraction of my typical $2000 Red Carpet Gown price. The exclusive collection will be launched in early 2007 and sold in all their 50+ stores as well as on their windsorstore.com website.
During this time, I also made a return visit to Seattle, for an appearance that coincided with the Season Finale of "Project Runway".
To cap this crazy month of October, I also did a "Live From The Red Carpet" at Heidi Klum's Annual Halloween Party, that was held in Hollywood for the very first time.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER: I filmed some segments for several TV shows, including E!Entertainment's "30 Most Outrageous Celebrity Feuds of 2006". I also got back on an airplane and flew to the heart of the Midwest, to attend, host and judge their first ever "Project Runway" event and fashion show at the University of Kansas.
Subsequently, I ended the year with a spiritual and runway-Diva zenith by filming a funny "Behind The Scenes" segment titled "Panty Raid with Nick Verreos" at the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the Kodak Theater. I still cannot decide what was better: Dancing with Supermodel Karolina Kurkova, or getting a whole choir to do an impromptu accapella rendition of the final song of the fashion show in the elevator with me. You guys can view the video and decide for yourself. Happy New Year and thanks for being such an inspirational part of 2006.