...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.
Did everyone see this posting from Blogging Project Runway?! I nearly spit up my eggnog laughing at these! Click HERE to see me as a dancing elf and even do that infamous Roger Rabbit Dance that I spoke of HERE!
Click HERE to go to BPR for the original posting where you can also see Andrae, Daniel Franco and yes, even Tim Gunn as Dancing Elves!
I will Be in San Antonio, TX for Christmas with the family and then NYC for New Years!
Thanks to everyone for all the love shown to me this year (can you believe it has just been one year since PR2?), it has been truly amazing and I continue to be humbled by all the support and encouragement shown to me. Feliz Navidad!!
Continuing on with the Victoria's Secret theme, I was ready to call it a night and tuned in to watch Jimmy Kimmel Live after the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and was surprised to see myself! Jimmy's funny "parking security guard" was, I guess also backstage and doing his own "pink carpet" coverage and well, you guys will see...I thought it was cute and funny. Thank God they compared me to Cleto and not Guillermo!
I was at the University of Kansas for an appearance when I got the call to do backstage and "Pink Carpet" correspondance for the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Two days later, back in Los Angeles, I cut my class short and headed on the 101 to Hollywood. The thought of being with the most beautiful women in the world made me almost get in an accident as I texted about half a dozen of my closest of friends!
Once inside the hallowed chambers of the make-up and hair room, I almost felt numb. It was a fantasy come true. From my participation on Season 2 of Project Runway, it was obvious that I adore models. They are, as I said, my muses. Imagine, for me, not just being in a room with models, but with Supermodels. Gisele Bundchen, fellow Brazilian, Adriana Lima, exotic Oluchi Onweagba, they were all there getting ready. I didn’t know what to do other than to want to do a “model walk off” with them. I could not, of course for obvious reasons, notwithstanding the fact that they were busy getting their rollers, hair extensions, and fake eyelashes on,but more importantly, I am certain that there are public decency laws in California that prevent me from wearing Victoria's Secret Pink Panties.
Camera in tow, I proceeded to ask the models my “What is in their drawers” question. Gisele was sweet and professional, saying she likes thongs and lacy bras to feel sexy. Then I spotted “Victor & Rolf” muse, Brazilian Raquel Zimmermann, and congratulated her on her “wedding” to the design duo earlier this month here in LA. I approached several other Victoria’s Secret models, including Izabel Goulart, Angela Lindvall, Allesandra Ambrosio, and got some fun answers to my cheeky question of the day.
The show began with a hot performance by Justin Timberlake. Now, I must admit that I liked Justin’s music but was not always a “fan”. I have always been more of a Jay Kay of Jamiroquai fan. He has been MY Justin when Justin was still in High School! However, after seeing Mr. Timberlake in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show performing several of his songs live and dancing his little booty off, well, I was ready to get my “Justin” membership card. I became a 14 year old girl in an instant, screaming and yelling. While seeing the Godesses of Ubermodels work the Swarovski crystal runway, one quickly figures out why these divine creatures make the money they make. They are worth every Euro, or Brazilian Real.
The LA Fashion Awards event was held at the historic Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. Jennifer asked me if she could come over to my studio and get ready at my place since I am Downtown, 5 minutes away from the event. I guess, I was still in the shower when she arrived, with her make-up artist(like a true Diva), so they set up camp outside on the steps and proceeded to , as Tim Gunn would say, "make it work". Fifteen minutes later, I walk outside and find them in full-on make-up process on the steps of my Loft! To the delight of the lovely infamous LA bums walking their shopping carts as well as a film-crew shooting nearby, Jennifer then became a true Diva and had her make-up done right then and there!
The Award show had presentations for various awards, including "Best Designer" which was won by Rozae Nichols, "Marketing Excellence",won by Collection Bebe and "Fashion Retailer" , which Decades Two took the honors. There were corresponding fashion shows showcasing all the nominated designers, which showed the wide range of talent that the West Coast has to offer. When it came time to do the speech and present the award to Jennifer Egan and GenArt, I was happy to see that there were Teleprompters and a nice glass of wine waiting for me backstage, which calmed my nerves, just a bit. Everything went fine, even if I ad libbed some of it. A "Fashionista crowd" can be a tough, jaded one, so I felt I did OK, as long as I walked away without any boos and jeers from the audience.
The Orpeum Theater was the site for yet another award show I attended, the "LA Ovation Awards". My best friend, Louie Anchondo ,works with the "Actors' Fund" , which is a nationwide human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment . He asked me to be his date to the "Ovation Awards", the Los Angeles answer to the NY Tony Awards. It was a night of THEATER(pronounced with the British accent) hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser). He was charming , funny and held the three hour show together. Although I am not exactly a fan of the Theater, I do enjoy a good musical now and then, especially if the costumes are fun. I was shocked to find out how many "Theater" fans "Project Runway" has, when I walked into the lobby of the Orpheum and several heavy weights of the art kept stopping me, gushing about how much they loved the show. I thought I could "slip in" un-noticed in this atmosphere of high-brow art. Not! I got to meet several actors and singers of the stage including Sam Harris (of "Star Search" fame) and the beautiful and Tony-nominated actress Valarie Pettiford. I almost fainted when I saw actress and Diva-extraordinaire, Carole Cook. She was the grandmother from the 1980s cult-classic,"Sixteen Candles". The one who felt Molly Ringwald's perky boobies as well as served breakfast with a cigarette dangling from the forefinger while opening a box of doughnuts. I cannot express enough my absolute love for her. There are many times when I want to channel her in moments of distress and trauma. This was definitely the highlight of my night!