Home » Archive for 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: DECA Career Development Conference, Delta Epsilon Chi, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, FIDM, Nick Verreos, Nick Verreos Appearance
Nick in the OC!I am very excited to have been asked to make a "special appearance" at DECA's 63rd International Career Development Conference, which takes place April 29-May 2 at the Anaheim Convention Center. DECA, which stands for Delta Epsilon Chi, is an international association of high school and college students who are studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service. It helps improve education and career opportunities for students interested in these fields as well as support the development of their skills in these particular areas. If you are a DECA member and are attending the Conference, please stop by the FIDM Trade Show, Booth 203, Hall B of the Anaheim Convention Center. I will be there Friday, May 1st, from 11 AM-2 PM !!! Come say "Hi"!
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Nick Verreos, Nick Verreos Appearance, Out For Work Organization, Out For Work West Coast Conference, Riley Folds
It's All About Flat-Front Pants: Out For Work founder Riley Folds, and Nick Verreos Last weekend, I had the privilege of giving a lecture/seminar at UCLA as part of the "Closing Day" of the first ever West Coast Conference for Out For Work, a non-profit organization that educates and assists LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) students in making the transition from college to the real working world. My topic was about "Dressing for the Work Place" and all that encompasses--depending on what kind of job or career the students chose to go into, as well as how important that "first impression" is. Group Photo: Nick Verreos poses with "Out For Work" members and students attending the West Coast Conference And of course, the "How is Heidi (Klum) and how was it going through Project Runway?" questions came up, which I enjoyed answering in my own fun "Nick" manner. I had a great time with all the students and meeting Riley Folds and the Out For Work board members who devote their time for this very helpful organization.
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Debbie Mazar, Dita Von Teese, Doris Raymond, Islands of The World Fashion Week, John Wade, Kevan Hall, Nick Verreos, Out Of The Ordinary Party, The Way We Wore Boutique
Braids, Vintage Couture, and not getting the chance to ask Dita to come by my NIKOLAKI Showroom...Pose Off: Dita Von Teese and Debbie Mazar host the "Out of The Ordinary" event and fashion show at "The Way We Wore" Boutique photo by Evans Ward/ BEImages.net Wednesday was a busy day for me. I began my day at 8 AM and worked a 9 hour day styling and doing a photo shoot for a a fabulous new upcoming book which I was asked to be a part of. Without even a chance to re-apply any eau de toilette spritzer, I then headed to pick up my buddy--former Project Runway Season 2 cast mate and Marc Jacobs Regional Manager and Merchandiser, John Wade. When I arrived at John's place, I thought I had accidentally arrived at Sean Paul's house! He greeted me with a spankin' new hairdo: Braids! I was like "Did you go on a Princess Cruise with Rihanna in Barbados and did not tell me?" Only John Wade! I absolutely LOVE him but only he can make me feel like a tired old Grandpa.Tanned Topman: Nick Verreos in Topshop photo by Evans Ward/BEImages.net I thought I was "working it" in my new Topshop suit, HOWEVER, after I saw him in his Bo Derek-meets-Peaches-and-Herb braids and deep armhole jersey tank and acid washed Marc Jacobs jeans I realized that I have lost all my "hip" quotient. I was invited to the "Out Of The Ordinary" event at Doris Raymond's amazing Vintage Couture Boutique The Way We Wore on La Brea. Along with Doris, Couture DIVA Dita Von Teese and the always fabulous Debbie Mazar were the hosts, so of course, both John and I could not resist. Lapel Power Couple: LA Designers Kevan Hall and Nick Verreos at "The Way We Wore" Earth Day event and fashion show Participating designers--from my Islands of The World cohort Kevan Hall to the always fabulously Magda Berliner--were asked to re-configure vintage garments that would have ended up in the "fashion" trash, and make them "new" again. Power Date: LA Designer Magda Berliner and Marc Jocobs West Coast poster boy, John Wade I would have LOVED to have been asked to take this challenge! Give me a 60's Boca Raton Pucci Tunic and let me have at it! The party and fashion show (showcasing the re-worked designs) was a complete success. Doris, Debbie and Dita were the most sublime hostesses (and announcers). All that was missing were the old-school Couture Show number "tags" models used to hold as they sashayed down the Atelier winding staircase..."and next we have Numero Deux...".Fashion Wrap Threesome: John Wade, Nick Verreos and Jennifer Rade photo by Evans Ward/BEImages.net I was excited to see my fellow TV Guide Fashion Wrap With Lisa Rinna girlfriend, stylist Jennifer Rade (stylist to Angelina Jolie and Lisa Rinna), Dita's make-up artist extraordinaire (who also happened to do the make up for my Spring 2008 W Hotel Fashion Show), Gregory Arlt, and the "Queen of All Media", Perez Hilton. Miss California USA Finalists: Perez Hilton, Nick Verreos and John Wade photo by Evans Ward/BEImages.net You just know I had to bond with him about the whole Miss California USA I-don't-approve-of-gay-marriage scandal. He was sporting a bright red t-shirt emblazoned with "Legalize Gay"... "Marriage" written with a black marker right after it. Note to self: Must get one of those t-shirts! The event was coming down to it's "midnight hour" as Dita stopped by and began to chat with John (she's a loyal client of Marc Jacobs) and wondered where Gregory--our mutual friend--was. Vintage Divas: Debbie Mazar and Dita Von Teese announce The Way We Wore "Out Of The Ordinary" fashion show I just kept thinking (to myself) how gorgeous she would look in one of my waist-cinching gowns. Before I could suggest to her to come by the studio for a fitting, she was whisked outside to find her car. Maybe next time.
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Brook Lee, Brook Lee wears Nikolaki, Miss USA 2009, Miss USA 2009 Evening Gowns, Nick Verreos Gowns, Nikolaki
Grecian Goddess meets Hawaiian Goddess Miss Universe 1997 and TV presenter, Brook Lee, wears NIKOAKI at Miss USA 2009 Pageant, Las Vegas Over the weekend--as we all know--the Miss USA 2009 Pageant was held in Las Vegas. I was happy to find out that former Miss USA and Miss Universe 1997, the gorgeous Brook Lee wore one of my NIKOLAKI dresses to attend the live telecast. It was an ivory silk jersey cocktail dress with a shirred bust and black duchesse satin neck detail. I think she looked exquisite (of course). Thank you to my fellow Venezuelan friend (and pageant DIVA!) Husam Abedaker, for capturing her in my dress at the pageant in Las Vegas (see photo above, Husam and Brook Lee).The Last Miss USA to win Miss Universe: Brook Lee The new Miss USA 2009--whom we forget of course because of the "other girl"--was the stunning and well deserved Kristen Dalton of North Carolina. No Crotch Slit? The new Miss USA 2009, Kristen Dalton from North Carolina gets crowned in her beautiful turquoise blue gown She wore a stunning vibrant blue strapless gown with a sequined asymmetrical strap. The interesting fact is that she didn't bring this gown as her evening gown for the pageant but instead, this was a gown in which she was photographed in for their official "Miss USA 2009 Glamour Photos" (see photo below). Somehow she got the "OK" to wear it for the final evening gown televised competition. Whoever gave the OK to do so: Thank You! It was the best gown in the competition: No crotch-high tacky slit, no transparency, and (I can't believe it!) no visible clear stripper platform high heels!!! Bravo Kristen! (or the gay men around her!).
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Beauty Pageants, Carrie Prejean, Miss California at Miss USA, Miss California USA 2009, Miss California's answer on gay marriage, Nick Verreos, No On Prop 8, Perez Hilton
Much has been discussed about Miss California USA's answer last night at the Miss USA Pageant and being a fan of pageants and having met Miss California USA 2009, Carrie Prejean, I felt that I needed to state my opinion on the issue. I met Carrie twice, while she competed for the Miss California USA contest two years ago, as Miss San Diego County. The actual winner was incorrectly crowned and we all thought Carrie should have won--she eventually did (this year). And I also worked with Carrie when I appeared, along with Debbie Matenopoulos, in last year's E! Entertainment Academy Awards Pre-Show. Pageant Girl: Nick Verreos poses with Miss California USA 2007, Meagan Tandy in a NIKOLAKI gown (she placed Third at Miss USA 2007) First let me start by saying that I am so proud to live in a country where we have the right to free speech. And I applaud the Miss Universe Organization for bringing such hard hitting, politically relevant questions to this years pageant. We live in a world where being beautiful is not mutually exclusive from being intelligent. I understand someone who has strong beliefs and has the ability to express those beliefs as a Miss USA should be prepared to do. But I do not feel she answered the question with any eloquence (Hello!! Opposite Marriage?) and obviously disagree with what she stated. I hope that people's anger and outrage is not directed at Carrie speaking her beliefs but at the fact the she feels that Gay men and women do not deserve equal rights. Although I do not agree with Perez Hilton's extreme reaction to Carrie's answer I am thankful that outspoken advocates for same-sex marriage and more importantly equal rights, like Hilton, continue to bring this issue to the forefront of political discussions. We still have an INCREDIBLY far road to travel and hopefully people will see that even in the pageant world, run mainly by gay men, we have to continue to educate and teach the importance of EQUALITY. To donate and learn more about the ongoing battle for equality in California please click HERE. And click HERE for a witty commentary by somebody who has "been there and done that", my friend and former Miss USA and Universe Brook Lee. She pulls no punches!! Love her.
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Ali Landry, Miss USA 2009, Miss USA 2009 Evening Gowns, Nick Verreos, Nick Verreos Ali Landry Gown
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
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Nick Verreos, Nick Verreos Appearance, Out For Work Organization, Out For Work West Coast Conference, UCLA
Dress For Success....with a little help from Nick Verreos!Nice Tie: Nick Verreos will meet-and-greet the future LGBT leaders of America this Saturday at UCLA Well it seems that I am going back to my alma mater this weekend. On Saturday, I will be hosting and making a "special appearance" at the University of California, Los Angeles /UCLA at the "Closing Night" events for the Out For Work Organization. I graduated from UCLA and got my Bachelor's Degree in Political Science/International Relations (yes, kids, I got my education!) before I decided to pursue my real love of fashion design and now I will come back to my old Westwood stomping grounds! Out For Work/OFW functions as a complimentary component in the total educational experience of LGBT students, primarily in the development, evaluation, initiation, and implementation of career plans and opportunities. They provide assistance to students in the cultivation and enhancement of skills to explore career options, master job search techniques and strategies, and research employment opportunities. They are holding their 2009 West Coast: The LGBTQA College Student Career Conference at UCLA and having a weekend long event filled with workshops, activities, seminars to help LGBT college students make the transition from Academia into the workforce and help them with such topics as building their resumes, being OUT in the workplace, being OUT and a minority and much more. I will be speaking this Saturday April at De Neve Building, Plaza A & B from 5:30-7 PM and talking one-on-one with interested students wanting to know how to appropriately dress for interviews and when they finally get that great for job; what's appropriate for a corporate position as opposed to a more "creative" one. Come by and say Hello; I will be there to meet and greet and maybe even take a Facebook photo or two! Click HERE for all the details and hope to see you there!!!
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Nick Verreos, Project Runway, Project Runway Castings, Season 7 Castings, Season 7 Project Runway
Season 7 Casting Notice: I just got word from my "peeps" at Project Runway that they are about to hold the castings for the next season of the show. As you may know, two weeks ago--on April Fools, of all days--it was finally announced that Season 6 Project Runway was going to air on Lifetime Networks (mid-August I believe). So, now I guess that also gave the green light to Bunin/Murray, producers of the show, to begin the casting process for the next season--- Here are the Details: *Minimum Age: 21 years old (sorry underage twinkies) *The castings will take place in Atlanta , Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and even Seattle. By Appointment Only! (see below) *You have to submit your applications by April 24TH !!!! *Casting directors and producers for the show will take a look at all these applications, videos, DVD's, etc. and then THEY will make "the first cut" and pre-select the ones that will be able to go to those castings. Who's Next? Nick Verreos judges last year's Season 6 Chicago Castings A lot of people ask me "How should I prepare?". Well, my answer to them is usually explaining to them that I had worked in this crazy fashion industry for 13 years and THAT was my preparation. Be YOURSELF (but please try not to be the mean one, OK, maybe just for the producers!), bring on the TALENT, show them why the rest of America needs to discover you as America's Next Great Fashion Designer. For more Information on the Application, click HERE. Good Luck!
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Hola Magazine, Nati Abascal, Spanish Aristocracy, Valentino Documentary, Valentino: The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor's Spanish Princess...Naty Abascal, on the cover of 1965 Harper's Bazaar Since I still have "Valentino Fever" from just having seen the fabulous documentary, "Valentino: The Last Emperor", I thought it would be nice to showcase one of it's "stars": Naty Abascal. Naty (short for Natividad, which means "Nativity" in English) is a Spanish socialite, a duchess (by marriage), and Valentino's long time friend. Anybody For Canasta? Naty Abascal, her sister Ana-Maria and Brazilian aristrocat, Helio Guerreiro in a Richard Avedon layout, shot in Ibiza In her youth, she modeled and in fact made the cover of Harper's Bazaar and shot an editorial with the genius of Richard Avedon back in the 1960's, along with her sister and Brazilian aristocrat, Helio Guerreiro. She is a fixture in the Spanish social pages of magazines such as HOLA! and in fact is the Hola! Magazine Fashion Editor, sometimes modeling in her own fashion layouts. The Genes were Passed on: Naty Abascal and one of her handsome sons Years ago, she married the Duke of Feria, and had two sons, who look like male models themselves. The marriage ended when their father was caught in a serious scandal involving underage girls. He was convicted and sentenced and soon found dead with an overdose. Yes, a suicide kiddies. Escandalo, as they say. I know, it's a TOTAL NOVELA---Spanish Aristocracy Style! The late father left the boys nothing except a title. The Muse Wears The Emperor's Clothes: Naty Abascal modeling Valentino She met Valentino as a 19-year-old model and the two have since been very close friends and in fact , she became one of his muses. In the movie, "Valentino: The Last Emperor", she is shown hanging out with him at his Atelier and in his homes, and musing about her too-tight gown and her protruding bosom. She almost fits into the sample size of his Haute Couture gowns (except for the bust part!) which I am sure by now he either lends to her, sells them to her at a great discount, or gives them as gifts outright. She is only in the film a couple times for a short snap, but they are some of the funniest moments. She's is one of those aristocratic party DIVAS you just KNOW you want to hang out with and a have a couple (or three) Martinis with.... Love her!
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Alessandra Facchinetti, Giancarlo Giametti, Runway fashion show videos, Valentino Documentary, Valentino Haute Couture, Valentino: The Last Emperor
End of an Era: Beautiful Gowns, Paris Castle, Gstaad Chalet, Private Yacht...and temper tantrums Last night, after returning from my trips, I FINALLY got to see Valentino: The Last Emperor here in Los Angeles. Of course, I went with my "Giancarlo", David, and our friends. The film opened last week and so of course I had been "dying" to see it. I thought the cinema would be a "gaggle" of my gays and fashionistas, especially on a Friday night in West Hollywood, no less. But alas, it was not. The theater was not even half-full and we actually had some room--and didn't feel like the non-popcorn-eating WeHo Fashion boys would be elbowing us in disgust. The documentary was AMAZING! It was a behind the scenes look at Valentino and his long-time lover, business partner and one and only confidante, Giancarlo Giammetti and their 45 years together creating the Valentino Empire. It shows the last two years, before he announced his retirement in 2008. It seems a bit "fishy" that they just happened to be filming the culmination of his career leading up to his retirement without consciously knowing they were documenting the final days. I am a little doubtful of this. Maybe "the Master" was a bit clueless but certainly NOT Giammetti.Tanned Twosome: Valentino and Giancarlo Giametti, with Gwyneth Paltrow The film is especially candid in showing his love and power-play relationship with Giancarlo (they still snap at each other like 24 year old kids at a bar--even at 70+ years old!). They really "live the life": The castle outside of Paris, the private plane and the Warhol-like museum of a private yacht. While the film shows Valentino going on and on about how "hard he works", of course, the film cuts right to him in his Gstaad Chalet skiing and relaxing with his Pugs...Life is ROUGH I tell you! If only we all had it that bad!Add a volant (flounce/ruffle)..no take away a volant...add crystals...NOW! The famous white gown from "The Last Emperor", Spring/Summer '06 Haute Couture The movie chronicles 2 of his last Haute Couture Collections. It gives you a behind the scenes look at his Atelier. I especially loved the snippy Directrice; you don't want to mess with an irate Italian woman! When you see the film, notice how there are NO sewing machines in an Haute Couture Workroom. Every single suit, gown, skirt is made by hand. This is why an Haute Couture gown by Valentino could cost in the $100,000 range. After using $500/yrd fabric, 200 hours of handwork, countless private fittings and the fact that you are probably THE ONLY woman in the world to own it, this is the result of such an outrageous price tag. Valentino Red: The other gown featured in the film "Valentino: The Last Emperor" Valentino was very lucky when he began his career back in the 60's, since there is NO WAY a designer in 2009 could create an Empire on his own, the way he did back in the day--without the help of a multi-million dollar conglomerate/backer. If there was anything to take away from the film it is exactly what the title suggests, that this was the end of an Era.One Time Only: Designer Alessandra Facchinetti watches as her first and only Valentino Haute Couture Collection made its debut in Paris (Heidi Klum wore this gown to host the Emmy Awards) After Valentino retired, the owners brought in Alessandra Facchinetti, who designed what was considered a fabulous first Haute Couture Collection, and was taking the House of Valentino in a more "modern" direction. But unfortunately, she was dismissed unceremoniously. after just one season, she was replaced by two of Valentino's Accessories Designers (who had worked under him for over a decade). So obviously, even though he is retired, the hand of "The Last Emperor" is still involved--even though it is from his Chalet in Gstaad! To see the movie check the official Website for added dates and cities HERE. Here are the two Valentino Haute Couture Runway Shows-- that were featured in the film for your enjoyment: Spring/Summer 2006: Part One Part Two: Fall 2007 45TH Anniversary Show: Part One Part Two: Part Three:
Posted by Nick Verreos Labels: Bridget Smith, IADT San Antonio, IADT San Antonio Imagine, Imagine 2009 Fashion Show, Nick Verreos, Nick Verreos hosting, Rita Verreos
Bow Ties, Dreaming of Mint Juleps, and Marie Antoinette Fashions....in Texas!!! San Antonio (Fashion) Prom: Nick Verreos poses with his sister Rita Last week, I was flown to San Antonio Texas to co-host a fabulous fashion show titled IMAGINE 2009. IMAGINE 2009 is the "Graduate Fashion Show" of the newest fashion school in San Antonio, the International Academy of Design and Technology/IADT, which opened its doors only two years ago. I was extra excited when I got the call, since as I stated previously here on my blog, my mom and dad--as well as my sister and her children--live there, so it was a great excuse to visit them. Even if it was for a quick couple of days. My family picked me up at the airport and they immediately took me to their favorite "Chinese Buffet" restaurant. My nephew and niece love this place and I can't turn down a good buffet. It almost seems like EVERYTHING in Texas is Buffet style. All big and all plentiful. I love me some Texas!Loosen That Damn Bow Tie: Nick Verreos poses with San Antonio native and Ford model Randy Valle and friend at IADT's IMAGINE 2009 Fashion Show After a fun and relaxing night playing the part of "Uncle Nick", I headed to the grand Omni Hotel at the Colonade, to check in and get ready for my big night of fashion. I decided to wear a beige suit and colorful Marc Jacobs bow tie---I was trying to vibe a "Southern Gentleman/Dandy sitting in a veranda sipping on a Mint Julep" but ended up looking like someones "kooky" uncle! Nice Beard: Rita Verreos interviews her brother Nick for LatinFusionTV.com I arrived an hour prior to the start of the event and the place was already a buzz with hundreds of people in their best "fashion show" outfits. As I started seeing all the people, from cocktail dresses to full-on "Miss Texas" gowns, I almost wanted to run back to my hotel room and change into a tuxedo! I almost felt under-dressed! Brother-Sister Act: Nick and Rita Verreos (she is wearing a NIKOLAKI gold beaded one-shoulder dress, naturally) But I didn't have time to go back to the hotel since almost the minute I got there-- with barely enough time for a final spritz of my travel-size cologne--I was whisked off to do pre-interviews with the local media. One, which I was excited to do, was with my sister, Rita Verreos, who was reporting for LatinFusionTV.com, a San Antonio-based entertainment website. The San Antonio Carolina Herrera: Carol Reyes' pretty cocktail dresses, IADT IMAGINE 2009 Now lets get to the fashions: This year's San Antonio IMAGINE 2009 Fashion Show consisted of 25 designers, each showing about 5 original designs, which (do the math) totaled to more than 125 outfits. One Shoulder Chic: An emerald green organza design by graduating designer Carol Reyes The designs consisted of a wide range from sportswear, juniors styles to cocktail dresses, to full-on Marie Antoinette-meets-a-Venice-Masked-Ball costumed gowns. There was also a designer who did menswear (with toned and muscled male models that really got the crowd all "hot and bothered" including all the young girls who were screaming). Another designer even did Mommy-daughter as well as Daddy-son designs (she had double the work!).Masked Ball: A panier-ed cocktail number from the IADT IMAGINE 2009 show All that was missing was a Maternity Collection! For a school that has only been up and running for two years and considering this was their first batch of graduating designers, I applaud every single one of them. There was so much creativity and originality from these kids. Congratulations to them for all their hard work and for allowing me to enjoy their designs--even from my "Emcee Podium" off to the side.IADT graduate designer Alfredo Leija and his colorful designs I was invited to co-emcee along with the host of San Antonio's Number One Local Entertainment/Lifestyle Program Great Day SA on KENS 5, Bridget Smith. I had never met Bridget, until the very minute I was led up to the stage and the producers said "OK, Nick we're ready to begin...oh and by the way... meet your co-host Bridget Smith...". She was wearing a bronze satin strapless bustier mini dress, great heels and a long beautiful blond mane of perfectly coiffed curls. So you know, right then and there I was like "You are FABUUUUUULOUS Miss Bridget!". I guess she liked that because we instantly hit it off. Bridget and I introduced each designer and then did our own fun banter in between (to kill time and make sure the models were ready for their next segments) for the entire 2 + hours of the show. A Mint Julep would have been very nice after all that!Nick Verreos and co-host Bridget Smith (far right), host of KENS 5 "Great Day SA", the No. 1 Local Entertainment/Lifestyle Program (with Tanya Sammis of Mason PR) Bridget and I had the BEST time. Even though we had never met or worked with each other, it was as if we had done this before together and for a LONG TIME!!! Not only was Bridget a class act in terms of her professionalism and demeanor, she was so great with the off-the-cuff filler and banter. She made the emceeing go as smooth as the silk dresses we witnessed on the runway. I later found out that she wrote the most beautiful blog posting about her experience as well as meeting me. You can read it HERE. I "HEART" Bridget!IADT San Antonio Campus Lobby The following day, I spoke for over an hour to all the incoming new students (it was "Orientation Day") about my experience in this crazy world of fashion design, the ups and downs in my 15+ years as a designer, pattern maker, instructor, as well as gave them some behind-the-scenes on Project Runway. Oh and I also told them to take all those nasty Facebook/MySpace photos of them shirtless doing a "woo hoo!!!" down (if they had any), since both college advisors and future employers are ALWAYS looking at those sites...I reminded them that they are not party hookers but future designers...Get In Line: Posing for photos with Nick Verreos Afterward, I posed for photos and even signed some autographs. The fact that no one fell asleep at my lecture/seminar meant (for me) that I had done a good job! Thanks San Antonio and thanks IADT--and especially it's President Lisa Kamenick for making me feel "at home" and for treating me so well.Parting Shot: Uncle Nick says "Goodbye" to his nephew and niece, Alain and Casia at the San Antonio International Airport