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Nick Verreos goes through the Miss USA Evening Gowns!

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The Higher the Slit...The Closer to....Um...The Crown?Vintage Nick Verreos: Ali Landry wears a Nick Verreos-designed gown, when she gave up her Miss USA 1996 crown (with a very young Mario Lopez) OK, let me just start off by saying that I should do a show on pageant gowns and critiquing them---oh wait! I did already, I was on Crowned: The Mother Of All Pageants giving pageant gown advice to Mom's and their daughters. Oh well, continuing... In 1997--yes, TWELVE YEARS AGO!!!--I designed and created a gown for then Miss USA, the STUNNING Ali Landry, who was giving up her crown. It was a see-through stretch chiffon/mesh with sequined embroidered lace from France. David (yes, he was with me back then too!), hand sewed all that embroidery and strategically placed it to "cover up" areas that obviously, should not be seen on national television. The design/idea was more Ali's but still a collaboration between Designer and Client.Pageant Gown Trend Alert: Lace and See-Through Stretch Chiffon gown, Miss Indiana Cut to 2009, and the Miss USA 2009 Pageant is in full force in Las Vegas. The final telecast is this Sunday night at 7 PM on NBC, but they have already had the Preliminary Competition, where all 51 contestants battle it out in front of judges in bathing suit and gowns. From this, the Top 15 which you will see on the Live Telecast will be announced. I was surprised to see that this gown, which again let me reiterate, I made 12 YEARS AGO, is now "the rage" in the pageant world. See for yourself:Embroidered Lace and See-Through #2: Miss Florida Embroidered Lace and See-Through #3: Miss Hawaii works it OVERTIME in this red gown What once was old...is new again, I think the saying goes. After looking at photos of the girls in their evening gowns, it seemed like more than HALF were featuring these transparent mesh over-layed with sequins or embroidered lace. I guess we have not really "evolved" in terms of evening gowns or like everything else in fashion, trends come and go...and some come back--whether good or bad.What started the Trend: Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart in the gown she won in There is also another theory for the sudden upsurge in this style: Last year, Crystle Stewart, won the Miss USA 2008 title (you might remember her famous slip and fall at the Miss Universe Pageant), in---wait for it---a see-through mesh gown with embroidered sequins. I guess, somehow, every other pageant National Director got a fax saying "Your girl must wear a see-through mesh gown with embroidered lace...or else!" I feel bad for all the other girls who also wore the same type of dress. I bet they thought they were going to be the only ones who got this "secret" evening gown memo! Cut It Out: Miss Delaware hangs on by a thread I also noticed a trend for the "Cut-out" gowns, where the bust is covered (barely) and the sides are exposed and the rest of the gown is attached from the bust-cleavage area. There were about 10 of these at this years Miss USA Evening Gown Preliminaries. Some were very dramatic and over-the-top (Miss Arkansas) and some looked as if a strong wind were to blow on them the whole gown would snap in two (Miss Delaware). We did a gown of this silhouette for our NIKOLAKI Spring 2009 Collection, in a canary yellow silk crepe but I think we went for a more "demure" version of what these girls were going for. Somehow I have a feeling that even if a contestant approached me to purchase this gown (or have it custom made), she would have wanted to cut out a lot more fabric from it (I would have declined).That's My Leg...and More: Miss Massachusetts bares it all A trend, which unfortunately, has NOT DIED is the SLIT. Every other gown had a side slit, a side-front slit or a center front slit, up the wazoo. Most went as high as the crotch level. Who thinks this is elegant, cute, or even worthy of a Miss USA going to Miss Universe? Unfortunately not I.If The High Slit Wasn't Enough: Miss Michigan also had cut-outs on her sleeves As a person just looking at the photos on the Internet, I was just excited to see a gown that DIDN'T have this not-so-pretty trend of a crotch-high slit. I'm sure as a judge, they would too. It got a little ridiculous as one after another vied for the higher and trashier slit. I understand the girls need movement but...As a "fashion guy", it's so funny to see most of these gowns and how they really do not reflect what one sees on the runways of New York, Milan or Paris. Or even have any resemblance to what a Charlize Theron or Penelope Cruz, for example, might wear to an Awards Show red carpet. This is a whole "evening gown sub-culture" which I now realize goes by its own lovely rules. Also, I have one personal request in regards to contestants and their evening gown ensembles: We must put an end to those Stripper Lucite Heels. Once and for all. Pretty Please? Who, in their right Pageant mind, said these were the accessory of choice, to wear with an EVENING GOWN, no less! Is she performing at Cheetah's? Say "No" to Lucite/Clear Stripper Heels With so many beautiful shoes out there--nude, gold, silver, that can be worn to enhance the look of the gowns: Why these? There are some gowns in this years Miss USA 2009 which I did like---mainly because they didn't have any crotch-high slits and had a resemblance to maybe something we might see on an actual red carpet or on the runways of New York and Paris. I was surprised by Miss Kansas' choice of a white gown with a beaded halter neck detail. She was COVERED!!! Hurray! But maybe the judges won't like this. I think she looks very elegant and almost Grace Kelly-like. After looking at the photos, Miss Tennessee (above) became one of my favorites and I liked her gown choice. Again, because she A) Didn't wear Lucite Stripper Heels and B) There was no high-slit! I know that the Mermaid silhouette has its detractors but I'm not one of them. I liked it. It helps that even among the beautiful Miss USA contestants, she still stands out as being extra beautiful and model-like--which seems to be what the Miss USA organizers are going after.Finally, I actually kind of liked Miss Arkansas' gown (above). The color is striking and stands out from all the rest. It's very dramatic (I love that!) and when you watch the video she works it like an experienced Drag Queen had taught her back in her hometown! I know, it's "A Lot Of Look" (as Tim Gunn would say), but she somehow pulls it off. Tune in to The Miss USA Pageant LIVE Sunday, April 19th at 7pm

7 Responses to "Nick Verreos goes through the Miss USA Evening Gowns!"

kath said...

Wow. I remember seeing Miss Michigan's gown in a Frederick's of Hollywood catalog back in the 80's - I'm serious too. They had a lot of stuff like that - all lacy with the cutouts on the sleeves

LeighAnn said...

I do pageants, and I agree with you on so many levels. The slits, stripper shoes and skin is oppressive. Classic and classy...it is what won USA this year.

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Julia Tyrell said...

It's really nice to be a representative of your country on such prestigious pageants, and have your evening dresses created by famous designers. Oh, I'm envious. :D

Anonymous said...

Clear heels look great in those pageants!