Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Aboriginal Costume Misstep: Yay or Nay?Welcome To Australia: Russian Ice Dancing Champions The Winter Olympics in Vancouver are only 43 days away and there is already controversy with one of the top Ice Dancing teams from Russia. Do I even need to remind you of why I love Figure Skating? The reigning World Champion Ice Dancing team, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin from Russia have had a tough time this year and have not been able to participate in the Pre-Olympic International Grand Prix Events. But that didn't stop the Russian Federation from crowning them the Champs with a score that rivaled the best of the season (How do you say quelle surprise in Russian?) Hey Look We Have Plants Growing Out Of Our Bodysuits! But the real controversy was not about their scores, but about their costumes darlings. In the original dance, skaters are required to use music that is based on a national folk tune. Domnina and Shabalin chose very unusual Aboriginal music, using voices as the instruments. Their costumes were based on Aboriginal Tribal-wear (see above) using white body paint and red cloth "crotch covers". But then their costume designer took some Aboriginal "liberty": For some unknown reason they had leaves planted (pun intended) throughout their costume bodysuits and....wait for it....they also were in what some critics have deemed Blackface. Therefore the controversy. The skating bloggersphere forums have been abuzz over it. I think it's a bit odd and in bad taste. But I'd love to know what the rest of you think--or at least my fellow Figure Skating fans. Yay or Nay? UPDATE: Click HERE to see what I thought about their UPDATED costumes at the Olympics, when I reviewed all the Dance Costumes with Kristi Yamaguchi and Peter Carruthers! LIVE!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Universal Fashion Doll:
If you've been keeping up with the Pageant World (and I have of course!) you might remember that early this year, in the Bahamas Atlantis Resort, 19 year old Stefania Fernandez was crowned Miss Universe 2009. This was the second year in a row a woman from that country (where I was raised by the way) had won the coveted crown. She has since made many appearances, representing the Miss Universe Organization and on behalf of AIDS, a cause which the Donald Trump-owned organization supports. She's also been "out-and-about" at parties, events and many a fashion week shows. Stefania has become a little "fashion plate" in her own right. The Miss Universe Organization has their own stylist who works with their title holders providing designs to best "market" their girls in the public eye. Some are from the sponsors of the pageant and some are from the designers whose show she is attending (if it's during Fashion Week). Then after that, I'm sure the stylist goes shopping or may get dresses from various stores and designers from all over. Here is my 2009 Year-In-Fashion-Review of Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe '09...Some Good... Monochromatic Queen: Here is Stefania in one of her most recent red carpet appearances, where she debuted her new above-the-shoulder hairstyle. I think she looks modern, fresh and less of the typical "Pageant Betty", more model-like/TV host. The monochromatic look works on her with the black dress layered over black stockings. I'm sure her Latino base of fans may not like the somberness and expect more brighter hues, but to me, she looks modern. Best Dressed: Here-- at the recent Latin Grammys this month in Las Vegas-- she is in one of my favorite looks. The sand-colored shirred one-shoulder mini-dress looks fantastic. Her asymmetrical hair-bun compliments the overall look as well. The shoulder copper detail adds just the right amount of "bling". Trust me, looking at some of the crazy dresses our Latina sisters wore to the Latin Grammys, Stefania looked AMAZING!!!!Miss Spartacus: Another favorite is this black Grecian-inspired dress, which she wore to the Toni Maticevski NY Fashion Week Show. I am LIVING for the serious DIVA you-can't-touch-me look!Clean and Simple: Here she is at the Narciso Rodriguez NY Fashion Show in a pretty midnight blue fitted dress. She looks good, but I might have done without the pageant-esque Diamante earrings--not necessary for a dress with such clean lines. Fun and Flirty: At another NY Fashion Week event, she looked young and flirty in this ruffled charmeuse number. Cute and young--after all the girl is still only 19!!! I like it.After-Five Dept: And last, I'm on the fence on this violet ruched satin dress. It's very I-bought-it-at-the-"After-Five"-section-at-Macy's. Nothing against that section. But maybe for Miss Universe, you want to strive for "Milan" and not Going-to-a-wedding-in-Woodland Hills, California. And the Maybe-Not's:Handkerchief No-No: When I saw this photo of the gorgeous Stefania, I went "Oh Dear!". She's at the Custo Barcelona NY Fashion Week Show, and I can only surmise that she's wearing Custo naturally. Another designer friend of mine said that she looked like one of the "Real Housewives from Orange County". And I kind of agree.Stefania and Designer Zang Toi: Zang Toi has provided many a dress or gown for past Miss Universes. Here she is with the designer posing the day of his NY Fashion Week Show. Toi is known for some over-the-top concoctions that border on top-of-a-wedding-cake so for him, the ensemble she was wearing was quite subdued. Maybe too much so. The black 3/4 coat and lace dress aged her. Leave that to her mother. Lace Overkill: Finally, Stefania made an appearance at a Mary McFadden Tribute Cocktail Reception this September at the Hotel Gansevoort where she wore a high-necked lace overlay dress. I actually like the high-neck style of the dress and the hair is perfect. Part of me wishes I had a pair of scissors to cut about 12 inches from the lace so it would match the inner lining hem. Overall, the year was a fashion success for the newly crowned Miss Universe. So here's to a fashionable 2010 for the gorgeous Stefania! Buen provecho mi amor! Update: Here is video of Stefania's haircut and how the decision was made! Do you like the new style?!
V is for VICTORY...
I am so proud to announce a new venture that I am really excited about: The Victory Project. The Victory Project is an MSN-exclusive show co-sponsored by Special K , where twelve women are going to transform their bodies for a very special moment in their lives--whether it be an interview, a momentous anniversary, a special birthday, or a new job--for the new year. Victory Project Glam Squad: Chantal Moore, Nick Verreos, Kacy Duke and Katherine Brooking To guide, mentor and inspire them through their transformation, The Victory Project Show will have four experts, handpicked for specific goals. Kacy Duke will be their fitness guru helping lose some weight and tone their bodies through training and lots of cardio (I might need to give her a call after the Holidays!); Katherine Brooking will assist them with nutrition and how to stay away from Fettuccine Alfredo (I can't!); Chantal Moore will make them even more beautiful (than they already are) with her make-up expertise and I, well, I have been chosen to be their "Style Guru". Drama Queen: Nick Verreos recording some Victory Project voice overs I will be their best style friend, their personal shopper and "Ego Booster" all rolled up into one. We will travel to three US cities and find four women in each city who are looking for a makeover for their special event. Our first city will be one of my favorite cities in the US: Seattle, Washington. Project Red Dress Runway: Nick Verreos striking a pose, Macy's Seattle Project Red Dress '09 In the past three years, I have judged and/or hosted half a dozen fashion shows and events in Seattle, including the Macy's Project Red Dress Benefit Gala Fashion Show as well as several for the International Academy of Design and Technology. My Girls: Nick Verreos with two of the Seattle ladies, Heather Teegarden and Rebecca Miller I love the Emerald City and I will be there the second week of January (that's in two weeks!) to help transform the "Seattle Four" from Drab to Fab, as they say! They have been working their little butts off getting in shape, eating better and working out so now I will show them how to look more fabulous in their new Victorious bodies! If you are interested in being part of The Victory Project Show, click HERE for more information. Maybe you might be chosen as one of our "Victory Ladies" in one of the cities we will travel across the USA and get a chance for a new body, a new healthy diet and a new fashionable and stylish you (via yours truly!). Click Below for a "Sneak Peek" Video of MSN and Special K's The Victory Project Show:
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wake Up (Latin) some Great Gifts from Sears!Mr. and Mrs. Latin America: Nick Verreos and "Despierta America" Presenter Karla Martinez This last week, I had the honor of returning to Miami, which just happens to be one of my favorite cities, to do another LIVE Holiday segment for Sears. As you may know, I am one of the official Spokespersons for Sears as well as Kmart in the Hispanic market and last month I taped a Holiday Fashion Segment and styled an entire family--dad, mom, son and daughter--in Sears clothing and accessories and I not only had a great time but was glad that it was also a huge success. Mas Rebajas, Mas Navidad: Nick Verereos on the "Despierta America" set For my return visit to the Spanish-language Good Morning America show on the Univision Network, I was to show gifts for under $100, all from Sears por supuesto. The day before, we visited a local Sears and shopped, choosing all the jewelry, electronics, perfumes and toys that would be featured the next day. Before going to sleep, I made sure to "prep" for my live TV appearance by memorizing my lines and studying all items that would be shown on TV. Diamonds, Ruby's and Perfumes: Nick Verreos, Karla Martinez and Nydia Sahagun, Director of Multicultural Marketing Sears The next morning, I got dressed in my new all-Sears ensemble, consisting of a Covington blazer, lavender-striped tie, a Dockers dress shirt and my Super Skinny Levi's dark wash jeans (yes, Sears has Levi's Super Skinny jeans kiddies!). I also made sure that my teeth were their whitest by using one of my favorite products, Opalescence Tres White Supreme. I received this great product at one of those Gifting Suites a while back and now I am addicted! The day of my segment was very prodigious in that it was also my NIKOLAKI partner, David Paul's Birthday. What a way for David to celebrate his birthday--on the set of Despierta America!Santa Nick: Nick Verreos describes the gifts to Karla Martinez on the set of "Despierta America" As we arrived on the set, I got a little nervous when I saw that THE Emilio Estefan was there as the Special Guest. But no time to freak-out and look for Gloria: My segment was up. My co-presenter was the beautiful Karla Martinez. She was so gorgeous and sweet, making me feel completely at home. My Sears Holiday Gift Segment went without a hitch and from the response of everyone around, I guess it went well! So well that even Karla wanted to take home a couple of the toys I showed on the segment. And I got a text from my niece telling me that she wanted one of the perfumes I showed on the segment as well. Yes, Sears Santa Nick is also Uncle Santa Nick.
Click Below to watch the entire segment:
Hanging Out at the Gifting Suites with Jay...During the last Emmys, I was invited to several of those Gifting Suites where Season 1 Project Runway Winner, Jay McCarroll and myself met up to have some fun. He had told me a little "secret", that he was about to be on another Reality Show, Celebrity Fit Club. And in fact, he was two days away from his official first day of filming when he joined me on this particular Secret Room Think Pink Gifting Suite at the chic SLS Hotel in the heart of West Hollywood. Click Below for a fun video from StylitTV featuring yours truly with Miss Jay, days before joining Celebrity Fit Club:
Saturday, December 19, 2009
A former Miss Universe, an Ugly Betty Star and a Fashion Designer Party in Hollywood!Peace: Nick Verreos at the NOH8 red carpet Last weekend--between DC and Miami, I had a respite--for packing and putting on a moisture mask, thank you very much!. I also squeezed in more party fun by attending the NOH8 First Anniversary Party at Club Marbella near Hollywood and Highland. NOH8, started by photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley, is a photo project and silent protest campaign, raising awareness for Gay Marriage Equality.Scissors and Thread: Nick Verreos poses with his NOH8 photo Earlier this year, as part of the campaign, Adam and Jeff invited me (David and our doggie Benny also posed) to be part of the campaign and of course I was happy to pose and to use my image for this wonderful campaign. It has been a year since the campaign's inception and it was time to throw a party. Party Favors: Nick Verreos, Former Miss Universe Brook Lee and Jimmy Nguyen After doing some red carpet interviews and posing in my DEEP V (sorry for all the chest exposure), I finally made it into the party and said "Hello" to one of my best friends, the gorgeous former Miss Universe 1997 Brook Lee (who also posed for the NOH8 Campaign) who was basically in charge of the whole party. Say Cheese: Calpernia Addams, Alec Mapa and Nick Verreos, NOH8 First Anniversary Party I also was happy to see my friend Alec Mapa, whom you may recognize from his role as fashion/celebrity dish reporter Suzuki St. Pierre of Ugly Betty, as well as the fabulous Calpernia Addams. I was there with my "bestie" Erik Moreno, who was so kind to meet me there for the party and partake in all the fun (and also take all the photos). NOH8 Party Atmosphere, Marbella Hollywood Unfortunately, I had a very early flight to catch the following morning to Miami to do my Sears "Despierta America" TV segment and still had some packing to do, so I had to cut short my partying. Felicitaciones (that's "Congratulations" in Spanish) to Adam, Jeff and the gorgeous Brook Lee for a fabulous party and for one year of NOH8.
Lifetime Meets the Elves Holiday Bash!Posing Ladies: John Wade, Joey Maalouf and Nick Verreos, Magical Elves Holiday Party The weekend before I left for Washington DC, I was invited to a special Holiday Party. Every year--for the last three at least--Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, the minds behind Magical Elves throw a fabulous Holiday Party and once again they were kind enough to put me on the list. Magical Elves are the prolific producers of Top Chef, Air Guitar Nation, Project Greenlight and of course, Seasons 1-5 of Project Runway, when it was on the Bravo Network. Even though Project Runway is no longer produced by them, it is nice that they still have me on their "party radar".Disco Divas: My friends Matt Brubaker and Joey Maalouf (being very shady) dance atop the Plexiglas-covered pool To come to the party, it was de rigueur to bring an unwrapped toy as a present for Toys For Tots. So naturally, I bought a big Barbie Doll with its accompanying dresses. I also brought some of my "boys", including my buddies John Wade, of Marc Jacobs (and from my Season of Project Runway) as well as Joey Maalouf, Rachel Zoe's DIVA hair and make-up stylist, and my life-long friends Erik and Matt. It was a very rainy Saturday night in LA but that didn't stop Jane and Dan from throwing a fun crazy party. In addition to a Plexiglas floor atop their backyard pool (which was the official party dance floor), they also rented a big ol' tent to protect the party guests. The house was packed with guests dancing, drinking and enjoying the food (loved those mini burgers!). Among the guests, I said "Hello" to my fellow Season 2 cohort, Daniel Franco. I also spotted some Top Chef boys as well as People's Revolution founder Kelly Cutrone, who coincidentally has a new reality show, produced by Magical Elves (I guess that's why she was there) as well as... Australian celebrity chef, cutie Curtis Stone, whom my friends were swooning over (sorry Curtis, I guess you have a gay following). It was a fun party and thank you to Jane and Dan for inviting me. See you next year (I hope)!
Oprah Isn't The Only One Visiting The White House...First Designers: David Paul and Nick Verreos of NIKOLAKI, stand in front of The White House Two weeks ago, as you may remember, I flew to Washington DC to do my Corcoran Lecture. Thank Goodness I was there right before this current Winter Snow Storm which has shut down the Nation's Capital. It was a gorgeous (yet chilly) 50 degrees, and I didn't even have to get the gloves out or wear my Marc Jacobs "Frozen Tundra" fur-lined parka coat. I was only there for three days (one to arrive, one for the event and the other to fly back home), but my hosts had a special surprise the morning of my Corcoran Appearance: A Private Tour of The White House!!! Well, David and I just about couldn't control ourselves the morning of. We were giddy with excitement and the anticipation. Thank God we passed those background checks (wink wink!).White House Crashers: Nick Verreos and David Paul pose with their hosts and White House Tour Mates Both David and I got a bit dressed up and I'm glad we did because when we arrived at the Gates, everyone else was well dressed too. I don't know if it is required but it seemed as if the Invite would say "Dress in 'Interview' attire, Please." Our hosts who joined us were the lovely Norine Fuller and Jacqueline Perrottet from the FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising DC office plus the man who procured the private tour, Matt Shepard (he went to school with a White House "insider"). Also joining us were Jim Johnson, Jenny Hart and their friend, the very fun and vibrant Sarah Fraser, an anchor from HOT 99.5 as well as a correspondent for the Washington DC NBC station.Nick Verreos as Michaele Salahi at the White House--and the Salahi's in the same room Our tour began on the first floor as we entered a long hallway and made ourselves to the VERY ROOM where the infamous "White House Party Crashers", the Salahi's, were photographed. Of course, I screamed at David to find a camera and take a photo of me, as if I was waiving to the Party Paparazzi. JFK Portrait, The White House As we made it in past this room, we entered an area with portraits of the First Ladies near the East Room. we spotted current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's portrait (love the pantsuit!). This one's for you, Dad: Nick Verreos poses in front of Ronald Reagan Portrait We then walked past the US President's Portraits, including the famous pensive one from John F. Kennedy, as well as Ronald Reagan (my father's favorite!). Of course, I had to pose in front of that one to make my dad smile.The Blue Room Christmas Tree Continuing our tour, we walked into the fabulous Blue Room, home to the White House Christmas Tree. The tree was IMMENSE and featured lots of large round ornaments done in Decoupage style. Each ornament was created by Americans from across the country. It was such a treat to view The White House during the Holiday Season.Adjacent to the Blue Room, was the Red Room (see above) which has been used, especially by former First Ladies, as a meeting room and a parlor room. I loved the rich vivid Cabernet red shades in this room as well as the elegant portraits on its walls.Next we entered the State Dining Room (see above) of the White House, where President Abraham Lincoln's portrait resides. Traditionally, our most gracious (and patient) tour guide, Jenny Botero told us, this is used for buffets and dinners (therefore the "State Dining Room" title naturally). Yummy White House: The Bill Yosses-designed white chocolate and marzipan confection Another highlight of this room was the great marzipan and white chocolate White House confection designed by pastry chef Bill Yosses. Part of the White House "cake" is cut out to show an inner view of the State Dinner Room where this creation sits! Notice the Presidential dog, Bo, in the front. Speaking of food, our guide then took us to the "basement" where we somehow ended up by the Presidential Kitchen. I'm HER biggest fan: Nick Verreos and White House Executive Chef, Cristeta Comerford As we passed by, we spotted Executive White House Chef, Cristeta "Cris" Comerford. She was appointed by First Lady Laura Bush as the first female White House Chef back in 2005 and the Obama's kept her (very smart!). As we walked into the kitchen and I began to introduce myself, she exclaimed "I know you! You're Nick from Project Runway...I'm a big fan!". Needless to say, I could have ended the tour right then and there. I LOVE HER!! I can't believe she was verklempt over me! I couldn't even talk (a rarity) with the respect and admiration I had for her! Flower Power: Nick Verreos inside The White House Floral Design Room Refrigerator After the kitchen, we stopped by the flower design room and I actually went into the floral refrigerating room and took a peek at the most beautiful roses and floral arrangements that will eventually decorate the various rooms of The White House. I also dished with the floral designers about my hardships making a dress out of flowers and plants on my season of Project Runway. At this point, we ended the tour by stopping by the secret "White House Store" and actually purchasing some can-only-be-bought-here items such as cuff links, golf balls and tee shirts. David and I felt so privileged to have received this tour and an "inside peek" into one of the most famous houses in the world.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
And the new Miss World is...Miss Gibraltar! Last night, the Miss World 2009 Finals were held in Johannesburg South Africa and for the first time ever, Miss Gibraltar, won the coveted beauty crown. Her name is Kaiane Aldorino, a leggy brunette who also took home the "Beach Beauty" title. In case you fell asleep in your High School Geography class (I almost threw something at the TV when I watched the "Amazing Race" final episode and the contestants didn't know what country Monte Carlo was in!!!!), Gibraltar is a self-governing British overseas territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. OK, enough of the Geography lesson, now let's get to some of the gowns: The winner wore a white flowy gown featuring embroidered lace applique on top of a nude mesh torso top section. The gown had a hidden (thank God it wasn't SO overtly visible!) high slit and showed her curvy figure at its best. I didn't love the gown, but I didn't hate it either. It was a 5 out of 10, if there was scale. The clear Lucite "stripper" heels she wore with it, however, did make me want to SCREAM (why oh why those clear stripper heels, so NOT cute!). It also was strikingly similar to... this gown worn by Miss Mexico 2008 Elisa Najera at the Miss Universe 2008 Finals held in Vietnam. Her gown was also white, flowy and displayed embroidered lace applique on a nude mesh attached top section. Either coincidence or Miss Gibraltar's designer was "inspired" by Elisa's gown. Who knows.White is always a popular color for international beauty contestants. It looks fabulous on olive-toned skin and it also gives the suggestion of purity and "I just want to end world hunger with my angelic white wedding-like gown". For the finals, the "hometown girl", Miss South Africa wore a white shirred gown fitted at the torso and waist and full from the hips. Again, not loving it, but not disliking it entirely. Just OK.The Second Place Winner, Miss Mexico, wore an aqua blue Empire gown which I actually did like. It had beaded trim under the bust and featured layers upon layers of chiffon making it move beautifully and adding lots of drama. The color looked great on her and her almost 6' tall frame carried the gown like a pro!Miss Panama (another semi-finalist), also chose an Empire-cut gown with beaded under-bust trim and surprised me with the burnt orange color. It was all flowy and all chiffon (a theme here?). Another six-foot tall stunner with olive-toned skin, I think Miss Panama looked fabulous. A 7 out of ten in my "Nick Pageant Gown" book. Miss France's gown choice for the Miss World Finals was an interesting one. Very Roberto Cavalli-esque. The chiffon gown was fitted up top, full and flowy from the waist (see, I told you it's a definite theme). The silhouette was fine, I just question the tie-dye like print. It looked kind of like an 8 year old's painting "experiment".Finally, above is the lovely Miss India, who went the pure all-white route for her final gown. The dress itself was a mess and just looked like something you buy from the Downtown Los Angeles Fashion District: Santee Alley. But, what stood out more for me was her footwear. Pooja Chopra sprained her ankle days before the Finals and was forced to wear a cast up to her knee. Look closely and check out what's peeking out from the hem of her gown: Yep, that's a foot cast! I give her "Atta Girl" Nick Points for "going on with the show" and making it work. For that, she might just take my "Best in Evening Gown" title! See you next time for more Pageant Gown Red Carpet Coverage. More slits and Lucite Heels to come, I am sure!
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