Last week, I was invited by Alive Magazine to host St. Louis Fashion Week , as well as show my Fall/Holiday collection at their stellar Forbidden Fashion Show. I was very much looking forward to visiting St. Louis, my birthplace, since I had not been back since I was like 10 years old. I still have family there, my Uncle Ernie Verreos, his wife, my fabulous Aunt Marina (a former Diva Greek singer) and all of my cousins. I arrived in St. Louis to a painful 95 degree August evening (with 98 % humidity!) It wasn't pretty. After the never-ending heat of Los Angeles, and the stifling heat of New York that I have been dealing with while filming my MSN Style Studio fashion segments, I thought "God , please give me a break!" Not!
Once I checked in to the fabulous Chase Park Plaza Hotel, I phoned my uncle, who spared no time to pick me up, and take me to the restaurant my cousins own--Anthonino's Taverna --a Greek and Italian eatery and bar in the St. Louis' "Little Italy" area called The Hill. My cousin Anthony was there and quickly greeted me with a big hug and my favorite drink of choice--a Cadillac Margarita--to cool me down! He also satisfied my hunger by serving me Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) , Bruschetta , and a St. Louis delicacy, toasted raviolis( don't ask, but really good!). Anthony's dad is Italian , therefore the half Italian/half Greek menu. As you can see in the photo, we Verreos' love color--just take a look at my uncle's lovely Hawaiian print shirt and my cousin's bright green "Italian Stallion" T-shirt.
The next day was filled with several local radio stations to promote St. Louis Fashion Week and the evening's fashion show. You can guess that my experience with toasted raviolis the night before became great fodder for my interviews. I also did a fun interview with the local NBC station which can be seen HERE. The "pregnant pause" that occurred when the charming local news anchor asked me what I thought of St. Louis fashion and/or style is priceless.
St. Louis ,Missouri actually has a great history with the American fashion industry being the headquarters of the now defunct May Co. as well as having a very prominent Garment District (now bustling with Loft renewal galore!) that once housed many of the top Millinery and shoe ateliers in the US. I was scheduled to "host" the Forbidden Fashion Show and be the highlight of St. Louis Fashion Week, and I was honored to do so. The sold-out show was held in a Downtown St. Louis Loft space and featured many local designers, as well as Project Runway Season 2 designer, my friend, Kara Janx (say it with a South Africa accent!). Her line is carried exclusively at The Time Boutique in Downtown St. Louis and does extremely well. Those kimonos are still selling out! Attagirl! My 12-piece Fall 2008 line was at the end of the show, along with the lines of two other great designers. I was excited to see my family in the audience (Uncle Ernie cleans up very well, as you can see in the picture working his suit, along with my cousin, his daughter Fifi) I also got to interact with all the St. Louis fashionistas attending the event. I had a great time. Thanks St. Louis! I hear my uncle, aunt and cousins were very proud of me. They kept saying "You're a celebrity!". No, hardly, I'm still their "Nikolaki" (little Nick) .
Click HERE to see an interview from the event with local style arbiter and personality , "Dsly" as well as clips from my part of the fashion show.
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