Cadillac Runway: Nick Verreos interviews the "Cadillac Couture: Red Carpet Gowns" FIDM Designers, Style Week Orange County 2010 (photo courtesy of Evans Vestal Ward)As you may know--if you are a faithful NickVerreos.com reader--I had the pleasure of showing my NIKOLAKI Spring 2011 Collection, along with my design partner David Paul, a couple of weekends ago at the Third Annual Style Week Orange County in Irvine Spectrum Center.
Well, of course, there were other fashion shows happening and one of them was the First Annual "Cadillac Couture: Red Carpet Gowns", a contest sponsored by Cadillac, where 7 designers--all graduates from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/FIDM--were asked to create a "Red Carpet-worthy" gown, inspired by--and even using materials from--Cadillac cars. And then, they would be judged for the best one.
Style Week OC Hosting: Nick Verreos on the Style Week Orange County runway stage (Photo Courtesy of by Evans Vestal Ward)I was honored to have been asked to host this competition, especially since I am a graduate of FIDM as well as an Instructor there. In addition, several of the designers for this "Cadillac Couture: Red Carpet Gowns" contest were former students of mine. So yes, I was a "Proud Poppa". The Contestants/Designers were...
Clay Sadler, who created a gray and silver ensemble inspired by the Cadillac CTS Coupe, featuring a jeweled bodice, dramatically structured sleeve and very dramatic over-skirt. My favorite part of this ensemble were the Tail Light hat and wrap around orange cuff bracelet created from an actual Cadillac headlight. Very Lady Gaga at the VMA's.
Natalia Romano, who graduated last year and debuted her first collection at FIDM Debut 2009, created a red taffeta satin princess-seamed fitted gown with diagonal "Cadillac-leaf"-motif gold chiffon and leather strap detail. She even created a custom clutch adorned with a golden Cadillac emblem. Imagine that in the Cadillac Catalog!
FIDM Designer Grace Sori Hwang decided to also go the red taffeta route for her Cadillac Red Carpet Gown. It was a Mermaid/Trumpet-style princess seamed ankle-length gown featuring actual Cadillac seat belts as "bow/ribbon" over-bust details. The back also had a big ol' bow as well.
FIDM Advanced Costume Design-graduate Adrienne Young, was inspired by the big-and-bold Cadillac Escalade. And as you can see, also did a big-and-bold "Red Carpet" design. It was a high-low Marie Antoinette 18Th Century-esque gown featuring actual Cadillac seat belts as shoulder straps in the corset and a pointed mini hat featuring the Cadillac emblem. Her accessories were Auto-Couture: The earrings were actual keys and the necklace was made of car steel and washers. This was very Helena Bonham Carter meets Vivienne Westwood.
Alejandro Ortega's CTS-V Coupe-inspired design was silver-gray taffeta and had a very dramatic stiffened sleeve, princess-seamed fitted silhouette and sequined "Cadillac" emblem accents. Alejandro said that the gown was "made to walk" just like the Cadillac was "made to drive"!
Nick Gaska, chose royal blue taffeta for his fitted Mermaid-style gown. As you can see from the photo, the Cadillac emblem was very prominently displayed as a waistband belt-buckle. Up close, the intricate seaming on this gown was fabulous! But the Winner was (Drum Roll...):
Julia Nish's black fitted Mermaid/Trumpet-style gown (a very popular silhouette!) which prominently showed the Cadillac steel "Wreath" emblem on the front as well as the back. The top was made of actual Cadillac interior charcoal mesh fabric and she also created petals and rosettes for the bustier--as well as a clutch purse--of the same fabric. It was our favorite and definitely the best representation of a "Red Carpet" gown. It was elegant, not too over-the-top, but yet still creative--and featured the Cadillac logo very well. I think her creative use of that aforementioned car interior material was also well-received by the rest of the judges. Congratulations Julia! Click BELOW for a video of the Cadillac Couture Red Carpet Gown Contest and Runway Show, Style Week Orange County 2010: