Thursday, August 30, 2007
EMU Australia, Australian Lifestyle Footwear and maker of fabulous sheepskin boots invited me to be one of their Celebrity Judges to find "The New Face Of Emu Australia". What does the winner get , you may ask?
Well, darlings, they will win a one year modeling contract and become the New Face of EMU, a free trip to Australia to shoot the campaign and appear in a nationally advertising ad shown in a major fashion magazine. Hundreds of young beautiful women across the USA submitted their photos as well as brief bios/applications stating their height, hobbies, as well as likes and dislikes. I was happy to be in the company of fellow Greek, the beautiful, Debbie Matenopoulos, host of E! Daily 10, who was also asked to judge the lovely beauties. Last week, the field was narrowed down to the top 12 and we were asked to pick our top 3. On September 1st, the winner will be chosen. Click HERE to see the 12 Finalists as well as the great EMU footwear collection.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Homecoming

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.
Friday, August 24, 2007
After finishing my hosting duties at St. Louis Fashion Week last night, I am off to do an appearance with Andraeeeeeee in Seattle at the La Mode Fashion Show for IADT!

This one will be fun because I will have a partner in crime with Andrae this time. On Saturday we will be giving a seminar at the IADT Campus and Andrae will even be part of the silent auction creating a sketch of a one-of-a-kind garment live at the seminar.

I'm going to have to pick up some of that world famous Seattle coffee when I get there to help me make it through this weekend!

For more on the Do You La Mode Fashion Show click HERE.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
UPDATE: For a fun video I did on KSDK NBC St. Louis click HERE

Just as quickly as I unpacked from San Diego, I will be re-packing to head off to the place of my birth, St. Louis, Missouri to host the 1st ever St. Louis Fashion Week. I was honored to be the 'Cover Boy' of the St. Louis Magazine, ALIVE. Click HERE to read the article that accompanied the cover spread. As you will read, although I was born in St. Louis, I did not grow up there, so it will be nice to return for the 1st time since childhood. If you are in the St. Louis area come join us where I will be showing some designs from my Fall 2007 collection, alongside several local designers and fellow Project Runway Alum, Kara Janx.

Monday, August 20, 2007
Just returned from my crazy week in San Diego where I showed a "preview" of my NIKOLAKI Resort/Spring 2008 Collection at an event at the W Hotel organized for me at their fabulous Beach Bar. As you know, I love telling a story and this was no exception.My collection was based on Cleopatra arriving in Rome to look for her Marc Antony, but in 2008! And these were the fabulous dresses she had in her Louis Vuitton trunks. Here are a couple of shots from the runway show, which went well: No models falling, no broken high heels, no ripped seams or broken zippers! The model in the aquamarine silk gown is , in fact, my sister Rita, former Survivor: Fiji contestant, who flew out, along with my whole family , from San Antonio, Texas .The press, media and guests I spoke to said that it was a complete success. They loved the show and the collection. From backstage ,I could see people's jaw dropping and could hear the "oohs and ahhs", which I guess is a good reaction.
Prior to Thursday night's show, I did several TV morning talk shows--NBC, FOX and local KUSI--promoting the event, fashion show and my "celebrity bartending".
For morning talk show interview on KUSI Click HERE and click HERE for my interview on FOX.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Vitamin Water: Check. Throat Lozenges: Check. Outfit to wear in front of High School Students: Check. It's FIDM's Three Days Of Fashion!

Last month, I got the chance to visit all of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising's California campuses in a flourish of activities that the school plans out during Summer Break. Traditionally, FIDM plans out an event called the Three Days Of Fashion for high school students throughout the country who are thinking of coming to fashion school or going into careers in fashion. As FIDM's spokesperson and as an alumni and an instructor, I was asked to make special appearances at all their campus--all within a span of two weeks. Let's just say, I got to know airports and the Southern California freeways very well! Lest you think it's all "flossy flossy", I flew Coach and drove myself to these events!

I began my appearances in a rather "dazed and confused" state. My first, San Francisco event was set for the same day I was flying back from New York City filming my MSN "Dress Like You Mean It" fashion segments. And I had to be in San Francisco by noon. I left NY at 5 AM , arrived in SF at 10 AM and drove straight to FIDM SF. No sleep and not enough Vitamin Water to keep me going. But somehow I did it! One of my oldest of friends, whom I consider like a sister, Didi Simon, greeted me at the airport and then took me to a much needed power breakfast before heading into the city. Love me some Didi!! Since I spent my adolescence in the Bay Area, I always love returning to the City by the Bay. After I was greeted by the energetic FIDM SF staff, I took a look at their window displays of original student designs of garments they made from hospital smocks. Yes, you read it right: Hospital smocks! They were great by the way. Note to future Project Runway segment writers: This is a challenge worth doing. I then spoke to the over 150 high school students about school, FIDM, and of course, Project Runway. I also signed autographs and posed for lots of My Space photos.

Next stop was home base, Los Angeles. At this Three Days of Fashion, I brought along a surprise "guest star", model Amanda Fields, who was on Season Three of the show (designer Kayne Gillespie's model). She models here in Los Angeles now, and I thought it would be a fun addition to the appearance to bring her along to model some of my dresses. Needless to say, the kids loved it--and you know Amanda was eatin' it up too!! The FIDM grand ball room, as I call it, was filled to capacity with eager students wanting to know more about fashion, designers and , again, my experience on the little ol' show.

A couple of days of rest, and I was in my car , taking a sweet ride down to San Diego, for my next stop in my "Nick FIDM World Tour" : San Diego. Because of the infamous Southern California traffic, I almost did not make it on time. But, once I did, I was whisked right into the event, and all that nasty traffic was forgotten once I got to meet and greet all those wonderful students who had shown up to do the San Diego FIDM Three Days of Fashion. The staff had decorated the room I would be speaking in to make it look like a Moroccan souk! With an added runway( you KNOW I had to do my runway walk!). It was so much to meet all of these future fashion designers and to see their excited faces once they meet me and want to take photos with me, it makes it all worth it. So many of them told me "You have inspired me to be a designer..." Boys and girls alike. As an instructor, I always feel that if I can inspire just a couple of my students for doing better and wanting to succeed, then my job has been done.

My final stop was the OC! Land of Laguna Beach and MTV's The Hills. This was my first time visiting the campus and was eager to see was it looked like. First of all, the FIDM Orange County campus is FABUUUULOUS!!! The building itself is very modern and all one story. Then you walk in and its got bright bubblegum pink floors. Love it! I felt right at home. There were over 200 high school students--and their moms--waiting for me to make my appearance. I was told that they had already spent the morning and early part of the afternoon taking draping classes and putting together story boards, as well as illustrating. My appearance was supposed to be a surprise but I guess word got out. Once I walked out, I was greeted by the same amount of applause and screams I think Lauren Conrad of "The Hills" gets (OK, maybe not so much, but indulge me in a bit of fantasizing). I had a great time speaking to the students and then afterwards meetin' and greetin'. After it was all over, I had such a great time doing all the Three Days of Fashion and look forward to the next round. Maybe next time, I'll pack lots of Vitamin Water and throat lozenges--and try to upgrade to a better airplane seat, or a better car for my driving.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Chicle! Chicle!

Last month, in the midst of design , draping and making all the patterns for my upcoming Spring 2008 Collection--which I am debuting at the W Hotel San Diego fashion show--I received an email from the Wrigley's Orbit Gum "people" asking me to come up with sketches/ideas for a "Concept" and "Red Carpet" dress based on the Mojito Flavor Orbit Gum. They said, if I was chosen, the new Latina Orbit Gum girl, the beautiful Raquel Jimenez, would then wear it at the upcoming Premios Juventud, the Latin version of the Teen Choice Awards.

Well, I was intrigued, to say the least. I sketched about 11 designs and after much client discussion--and a little bit of my input--they choice one of my more elegant yet still fun designs. I had done several, more costumey Miss Universe Parade of Nations Miss Dominican Republic-with-a-lemon/lime-on-her-head types of styles but I am happy with the one that was chosen. It reflected my sexy-yet-elegant sense of style, but was still an obvious nod to the Mojito Orbit Gum.

The budget to make this creation was very good but there was one catch: The Awards Show would be in a week!! Well, it became like another Project Runway Challenge for me. The model, Raquel was in Spain and therefore emailed me her measurements and would not be present for any fittings so I would have to just go by my years of experience to make this custom dress without an actual person and go by her measurements only. I kept hearing Tim Gunn in my ear saying "Make It Work!" Well, in the end, I did, with the aid of my partner, David, who painstakingly helped me in cutting the dress as well as making the fun ORBIT GUM pillbox hat AND Mojito scarf.

I then flew to Miami (former Miss Universe and Marc Anthony's ex, Dayanara Torres was seated 2 seats away from me!) and the next day would have an early morning fitting (it was perfect, thank goodness) and then attended the Premios Juventud and walked the Red Carpet (it was purple, go figure), amongst such Latin pop stars as RBD , Enrique Iglesias, and Daddy Yankee. The fans on the bleachers were so cute in that they were all screaming "Chicle! Chicle!" as we walked the carpet. I yelled back "Orbit Mojito! Orbit Mojito!". I was surprised that many of them were "Oh , you're Nick from Project Runway!!" Not surprising the show has a huge Latin fan base. I love me some Miami...as well as Orbit Gum too!!!!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I am very excited about my Spring 2008 Fashion Show at the W Hotel in San Diego on August 16th. In conjunction with this thrilling event I did some promotion with a San Diego based online radio station Art Rocks! You can click on the link below to here the interview with their local Mistress of the Red Carpet Ally Bling Bling.

Click here to listen to the interview: Art Rocks!
(fast forward to around 4:00)
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