Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pageant Sin City: Beauty Queens, Shopping, Chocolates, and a Sleeping Carnation Polar Bear....

Well Dressed Boys: Nick Verreos and David Paul of NIKOLAKI, at Miss Universe 2012 Pageant--Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Theater Las Vegas

Last Tuesday, my NIKOLAKI partner-in-fashion crimes, David Paul and I flew to "Sin City" Las Vegas to attend the 61st Annual Miss Universe Pageant. If I am not mistaken, I think this made it my FOURTH time attending a Miss Universe competition. I went to the one in Los Angeles at the old Shubert Theater in Century City when Norway's Mona Grudt was crowned Miss Universe 1990 (TWENTY TWO years ago-- Yes, I was FIVE! LOL!). I also attended the Miss Universe 1996 Pageant six years later in Las Vegas at the old Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts, when Venezuela's Alicia Machado was crowned Miss Universe and then...

Nancy O'Dell (in NIKOLAKI Custom) and Carlos Ponce--hosts of Miss Universe 2006

I went to the Miss Universe 2006 Pageant which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in LA. Puerto Rico's Zuleika Rivera was crowned Miss Universe that year and the co-host Nancy O'Dell wore one of my NIKOLAKI gowns. has been six years since I have attended a Miss Universe pageant, as you can see.

   Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas

David and I arrived in Las Vegas and stayed at the Aria Resort and Casino. It was very nice; let's just say it was  a more "civilized" way to stay in Las Vegas. When I hosted an event not too long ago at Crystals City Center in Las Vegas, I stayed at the Vdara. It was exquisite and yet, I found myself sneaking over to the Aria while I was there. So...this time, I wanted to try Aria and it was fab!

Yummy-licious: The delicious offerings at Jean Philippe Patisserie, Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas

While in Las Vegas, we did some hotel-hopping and shopping naturally. We're not gamblers except for the fact that David does love the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machines:
So...we ventured to the Bellagio, Caesars Forum Shops, did some retail damage at the World's Largest H&M there, checked out the Crystals at CityCenter and event trekked it--by foot--all the way to the Fashion Show Mall--where we made a "Style Beeline" to TopShop and TopMan of course. Here are some photos:

Tree Couture: The Christmas Tree at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens 2012 Winter Holiday Display

 Rockin' Horse: a scene from the Bellagio Las Vegas 2012 Winter Holiday Display, Bellagio Las Vegas Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Bear Fab: a "Sleeping Polar Bear", made of carnations--Bellagio Las Vegas Conservatory & Botanical Gardens 2012 Winter Holiday Display

 GG Window: Gucci at Crystals City Center

David and David: David Paul of NIKOLAKI  (and one of our several H&M shopping bags!) in front of a "David by Michelangelo" replica at Caesars Las Vegas

 Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino--site of Miss Universe 2012 Pageant

But soon, it was time to get ready to go to Planet Hollywood and attend Miss Universe 2012. The pageant began at 5pm and our tickets stipulated that we had to be in our seats by 4:30pm. It was being taped LIVE to show at 8pm in the East Coast and yes, all around the world. There was a major flurry of activity outside the theater--lots of pageant fans, beauty queens with their crowns and sashes, fabulous drag queens--in crowns and sashes, supporters of all the different international contestants vying for the Miss Universe 2012 crown. It almost seemed like the better SHOW might be OUTSIDE the theater than inside. The biggest--and most visible--contingencies of fans came from the Philippines, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, USA...all the biggies when it comes to Pageant-Lovin' nations/territories.

One of my favorites where the one that were there to support Miss Spain, Andrea Huisgen (above, in her National Costume). There were about 25 people carrying huge "Miss Spain" banners and flags, all dressed in Flamenco-like ensembles, with toreador/bolero jackets, black hats, red roses, screaming "EspaƱa!" was a sight to behold! I wish I had taken a photo of them but I was all frazzled trying to get in line to get into the theater to get to my seat in time!

We finally took our seats and right as the show was about to begin, I spotted my "Project Style" co-spokesperson, Style Network DIVA--and friend--the one and only Jeannie Mai, running up the aisle to get to her "Miss Universe 2012 Reporting/Correspondent" post. I think I must have tripped over seven people in my row so I could get a quick kiss and wish her (and that great cleavage of hers!) "Good Luck". She looked fabulous--as always!

The show was a lot of fun (Spoiler Alert: Miss USA Olivia Culpo won! LOL!) and I was super happy that I got to see it--especially with David. David kept laughing because sooooo many people kept stopping me--and recognizing me, wanting to take photos, hugs, etc. I loved that most everyone of them also added "We LOVE your Blog!". That really made my night. I felt like a Miss Universe myself. Here are some fun pics I got from the night:

Fans of Janine Tugonon "Miss Philippines" share the love with me--Miss Universe 2012 Planet Hollywood Theater Las Vegas

Honorary Asiana: Nick Verreos with Lisa Chang (left) and Monica Mapa (right)--Monica is Actor/Comedian/Diva Alec Mapa's sister, by the way!

Work That Walk: Nick Verreos with Miss Universe Runway Coach, the ever-so-FABULOUS Lu Celania Sierra--God I LOVE her!!! She puts the "F" in FIERCE. Seriously.

Viva Mexico: Nick Verreos with the beautiful Karin Ontiveros, Miss Nuestra Belleza Mexico 2010--Karin was the "Miss Mexico" in Miss Universe 2011--Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

 Sancocho Gorgeous: Nick Verreos and Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2012 Bodine Koehler --she was one of the favorites to win the title this year but unfortunately--and inexplicably--she did not even place--she was one of my Miss Universe 2012 Best Gowns Girls and had one of the most amazing figures of all the 89 ladies.

Nick Verreos with Miss Trinidad and Tobago Avionne Mark--loved her jersey purple dress, and yes, she was EsssSTUNNING! ---Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

Finally, I was soooo happy to get a photo with...

Miss Universe Bahamas--Celeste Marshall's-- family! That's her Grandma--very elegant in a black gown (second from left) and her mommie (in the pink (fourth from left).

 Celeste Marshall, Miss Universe Bahamas 2012 and modeling one of our NIKOLAKI gowns, Islands of The World Fashion Week

As you may know, Celeste modeled for me when she was all but 16 years old when David and I showed our collection at the Islands of The World Fashion Week 2008 in The Bahamas and she was one of our favorite models. I ran into her family after the show and well, before you know  it, I almost took them home--back to LA--with me! They were so sweet, so generous and a Class Act. Typical Bahamian! And it was a great way to end my night in Las Vegas attending the Miss Universe 2012 Pageant.


Jeannie Mai said...

Nick it was such an honor to have an expert like u attend this year's pageant. We're all a fan of your work - we luv u!!

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