Barbie and a one-of-a-kind doll would then be made, from the student designers' visions. As an instructor and Official Spokesperson at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM Los Angeles, they thought I would be the perfect conduit to help facilitate this, and naturally I did. Now, of course I also told them that it would not be a complete Barbie Fashion Show, unless I also designed a very special gown for Barbie as part of the celebration. Ever since I was very young, I loved Barbie for her fabulousness and as many of you may know, during Season 2 of Project Runway, I won the "Design an Outfit for the My Scene Barbie Challenge". My winning Barbie Doll was subsequently produced and eventually sold-out at Toys 'R Us. It is now considered a "Collector's Barbie". Nick Barbie No. 1: The Project Runway Nick Verreos My Scene Barbie--and dress So of course, I was "tickled pink" at the thought of designing for Barbie once again. For this very special anniversary, I was to design a gown for Barbie's "Birthday Celebration", basically my vision for how Barbie would dress as she hosted her Birthday Gala at her Malibu Mansion. I was inspired by many things, including 1950's Hollywood Glamour, Haute Couture and even Japanese Anime Characters. Tokyo Bow: Inspiration for my "Malibu Barbie Gown" I also wanted to do a variation on the strapless gown that Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin wore at the 2008 Oscars from my NIKOLAKI Spring 2008 Collection but of course add lots of DRAMA, lots of PINK and Barbie-ize it! Oscars Red Carpet: Actress Marlee Matlin wears NIKOLAKI gown at the 2008 Academy Awards After I sketched the final illustration, it was handed to the genius "petite mains" at Mattel to create the doll. Even before my gown was finished, I got to see my doll, and can I just tell you: It was AMAZING!!!! (see at the beginning of the posting) It looked just like my sketch! They really can make magic happen at Mattel.
Etch-a-Sketch: My original illustration, for the doll and the actual gown Photos Courtesy of Philip CuencoNow, I had to "step it up" and create a life-size gown worthy of the 12 inch doll--as well as my original illustration. The gown took over 75 hours to make (50 hours for sewing the gown plus about 25 for the hand beading) not counting my draping, fitting and pattern time. It took over 30 yards of light pink "strawberry" and "bubblegum" pink duchesse silk and rayon satin. In the end, it was certainly a labor of Love for Barbie by everyone who had a hand in creating it. I was also honored to have had Crystallized Swarovski Elements sponsor my "Nick Verreos Barbie" and they provided all the gorgeous Swarovski crystals which envelop the back Obi-Bow detail, as seen below.
The Exit Bow: Hundreds of Swarovski crystals in degrade' style cover the back Obi-Bow Photo Courtesy of Philip CuencoSince Barbie is famous for her love for crystals, sequins and stars, I wanted my gown to have this "surprise" back detail and have the crystals look as if a Star had shattered beautifully and miraculously behind Barbie--and right on her Couture Gown! My design partner David Paul, did a fantastic job of hand-beading all those crystals. The final outcome was exquisite, if don't say so myself (wait, I just did!).America's Next Top Barbie: Model Chantal Jones And just in case you thought my life size Barbie looked a bit familiar: Well, it was none other than the stunning (and oh so sweet!) Chantal Jones, the six-foot tall runner-up from Cycle 9 of "America's Next Top Model" . Below is great video of the Barbie Fashion Show: Part One: Part Two: