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SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss USA 2012 Preliminaries Evening Gowns: The Best


The Best of the Preliminary Gowns...

Miss New York USA Johanna Sambucini--keep reading for what I thought of her and her Evening Gown...

Continuing with my "Beauty Pageant Minute" postings---we are DONE with looking at those oh-so-last-week Evening Gown's all about what the "Miss USA 2012" contestants actually wore on last night's very important "Preliminary Competition" which was held at the site of Sunday night's LIVE telecast, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

This is the night where the Top 15 Semi-Finalists are picked by a panel of Preliminary Judges. Usually the Preliminary Judges are comprised of local dignitaries and/or "industry" insiders in the pr, entertainment and/or fashion and beauty world--as opposed to the LIVE telecast where the judges are usually from the NBC/Universal "family" (since the telecast airs on NBC) and/or actors, well known celebrities, and yes, a sports figure sometimes. Some of the Preliminary Judges included Alison Taub, an Associate Producer with "Inside Edition", Kim Wagner, Co-Anchor of "Wake Up with the Wagners", Randall Winston, Producer of "Scrubs" "Spin City" and "Cougar Town"and Renee Simon, Vice President of Current programming at the Style Network.

Miss USA Alyssa Campanella co-hosts last night's Miss USA 2012 Preliminary Competition

The Preliminaries were hosted by the reining Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella and Chet Buchanan, host of the local Vegas radio show "Chet Buchanan and the Morning Zoo" on KLUC 98.FM. The show was streamed live on the web via UStream. OK, now that we got all that out the way...Wanna know what I thought of the Gowns?? Well, here were my Top Picks:

Go On Mija! Miss New York USA 2012 Johanna Sambucini: 25 year old 5' 9" tall Johanna was born in the Dominican Republic and HUNEY, it shows! She WORKED it overtime in the gown portion of the Miss USA 2012 Preliminary Competition. She wore a see-through nude-colored halter-neckline style gown with encrusted crystals. I wouldn't be surprised if her gown was by one of those Puerto Rican and/or Dominican fashion designers who design for Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Dominican Republic Universe. Or if she went straight to the "Pageant Gown" Source and payed the extra thousands for a Venezuelan pageant gown designer. Whatever--and whoever she chose--it was FABULOSO!

Miss Oklahoma USA 2012 Lauren Lundeen: Next on my Top Picks List is this lovely woman representing Oklahoma. Not sure if it is a coincidence but she wore a similar gown to "Miss New York USA 2012". It had a nude-colored base, fitted and filled with encrusted mirrored crystals. The difference, it was not a halter-neckline style. The 5' 9" beauty once again, vibed her best "Miss Venezuela" confidence/look, and went for it, when it came to her evening gown. Love the hair, make-up, the fit of the gown. She's basically a TIE for "Best Dressed" of the Miss USA 2012 Evening Gown Preliminaries. At least for me. Only negative: those shoes! Too big, too stacked heel, too Drag Queen/Stripper. A pair of gorgeous silver strappy ones would have been perfect. 

Miss California USA 2012 Natalie Pack: Interestingly enough, Natalie wore the same gown she was featured in the "Miss USA 2012 Website Evening Gown Portraits". I liked this gown there and I still like it now on her. As you know, she was a contestant on "America's Next Top Model" so hopefully she knows how to work a runway and a gown. It's funny how she looks very UN-model and more-Miss Pageant. There is a difference. I like the peachy-pink color on her and the diagonal asymmetrical gathering and draping. The slit IS "HOOCHIE" HIGH but oh well, you can't win 'em all...

Miss Nevada USA 2012 Jade Kelsall: Jade looked like this white strapless gown she wore for last night's Miss USA 2012 Preliminary Competition. Except for the too-high stacked heel "Disco" pumps (seriously Ladies, why all the tacky shoes with these gowns??), the dress was stunning, elegant (HELLO: No HOOCHIE slit, nasty boob-revealing neckline!). I love the gold and silver metallic midriff section. I just want to be fanning her and serving her grapes!

In the Red Category, these two ladies--and their gowns--were my favorites:

Miss Tennessee USA 2012  Jessica Hibler: Jessica is only 5' 6" (these pageant girls--especially the ones who are winning as of late--seem to be on the 5' 9" or taller height spectrum) but with that said, she looked GLORIOUS and statuesque in this strapless gathered bust/draped chiffon lipstick-red gown. The big ol' bun on her head adds height and I am happy she didn't do the "Pageant Tacky" and put on 12" platform Drag Queen/Stripper heels to make herself seem taller. The gold pumps were a good choice. P.S. to all short(er) pageant girls: I've spoken to actual Miss USA and Miss Universe judges and they've told me that (they) can see the 12" platform heels and the first thing they think is "Oh Huney, she must be SHORT!". Just saying. Back to the gown--it's very "Hollywood Glamour". Nothing directional or overtly sexy but it looked very nice on her.

Miss Utah USA 2012 Kendyl Bell: Yes, she's very "Pageant Betty Elegant" in this, but that's why I am giving her "Pageant Gown Props" for it. She could have gone "I am a 55 year old 'Real Housewife of Orange County' at a Black-Tie Wedding" (wait until you see my "Oh Huney" posting!) but she chose to go for a more "Pageant Classic". This red gathered bustier with fitted taffeta gown with a one-shoulder sequined trim is a very standard Pageant/Prom/Evening Dress that one can find online or at a "Pageant and Prom" boutique, but at least she chose one of the better ones. Nothing wrong with this look on Miss Utah USA...except, for yes...those PUMPS!!!

Miss Illinois USA 2012 Ashley Hooks: I like Ashley's gown and therefore I felt she was one of the better ones from last night's Miss USA 2012 Preliminary Evening Gown Competition. It fit her like a glove, yet not too tight, I like the high-neck halter style, open back, degrade sequins and iridescent gold color. She looks like a "Miss Bermuda" at a Miss Universe or Miss World competition and that's fab for me!

Finally the Gionni Straccia Girl:

Miss Nebraska USA 2012 Amy Spilker (left): Amy's gown is very similar to a gown designed by Venezuelan Pageant-Go-To Fashion Designer Gionni Straccia. It's also similar to the gown that
Morgan Woolard Miss Oklahoma USA 2010 (right) wore two years ago and in which she almost got the Miss USA title (she was First Runner Up). I'm assuming the gown Miss Nebraska USA 2012 wore last night is by Straccia. If not, he might want to sue someone. Just saying. Irregardless, I like this white strapless gown on Amy and especially, the coral-colored sequins highlighting the Empire/underbust and high-hip area.

**Up Next: My "OOOOOH GURL, Is it 1988...and Why Are You Dressed like a Peacock?" Girls from the Miss USA 2012 Preliminary Evening Gown Competition

SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss USA 2012 Evening Gown Portraits: My Favorites


Pageant Betty Good:

Miss California USA Natalie Pack: Former contestant on "America's Next Top Model" reality show, Natalie Pack is "one to watch" since HELLO, she actually IS a Model (as opposed to how some girls put that down as their job, but we all know better). Anyhow, she chose this peach-colored satin strapless draped gown which I think suited her very well. Loved the side-swept Rita Hayworth hair and those big ol' crystal-encrusted earrings. Those pumps are a bit questionable, but I forgive her.

The 61st Annual Miss USA pageant is happening as I type...the Preliminaries were tonight and Sunday, June 3rd is the Final Telecast LIVE from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 51 contestants--50 US States plus District of Columbia, of course--have been in the "Sin City" for several weeks now for rehearsals, appearances, swimsuit fashion shows, and well, doing what beauty pageant girls do: looking flawless and trying not to sweat but rather "glisten" under the scorching Vegas sun.

Last week, the Miss Universe Organization released the "Evening Gown" Portraits on the Miss USA Website. Many pageant insiders know that for the most part, these are NOT the gowns the girls will wear for the Preliminaries and/or Final Telecast competition, but it's still fun to see what they chose and yes, to give my "Nick Two Cents". In my last post, I reviewed the "Plunging Cha-Cha", High Slit and unfortunate "Armpit Pose" ladies, so now, here are my "I Likey" girls:

Canary Pretty:
Miss Michigan USA Kristen Samantha Danyal: looks very "Sofia Vergara Miami Exotic" in this strapless yellow gown with cowl draped side, gathered midriff, full skirt and sequined detail. She's very "Miss Colombia" in this. Yes, there's A LOT going on, but somehow--for me--it works. It's all helped by the fact that she wisely let her hair go simple and non-Pageant Pouf-ed. Her "Oh Yes, I'd love a Mojito..." and "Oh Is That Your Beautiful Wife?" pose is FABULOSO!

Miss Ohio USA Audrey Bolte: Miss Audrey looks like a WINNER--stunning, perfect Barbie Blond, statuesque (5'10"). Hope she knows where Iran and Syria are and who Sarkozy lost the French Presidential elections to (Final Question suggestions!!), 'cause if she also comes out looking somewhat intelligent, she might get the crown. This is the gown she chose (or was given to her, who knows!), for the Miss USA 2012 Website Evening Gown Portraits. Canary yellow, heavy satin fitted gown, with a gathered over-skirt. Is it very late 80's/early 90's? Yes, but on Audrey it looks regal and Red Carpet-ready. I can see her at yesterday! I'm really liking her and this gown--it might be the lack of a HOOCHIE plunging neckline and TOO-high slit, and too-stacked heel showing.

Miss Oklahoma USA Lauren Taylor Lundeen: The emerald green chiffon shirred gown with one-shoulder sequin applique trim looks great on Lauren, Miss Oklahoma USA. This is a typical "Go-To" Pageant Gown style that EVERY pageant-and-Prom clothing manufacturer has in their Look Book. And for good reason--because it works. The "swishing" pose and modern flat with bangs hairstyle makes it look fresh and (somewhat) modern.

Miss Missouri USA Katie Kearney:  I think this is a very sexy gown but without the too-high slit and too-low plunging neckline. The sequined nude fabrication--along with the multicolored chiffon godet pieces--add a bit of drama and "Hollywood Starlet" allure. Is it a bit "Dancing With The Stars"? Yep. But, I LIKE it! It also fits her OH-MY-GOD-SHE'S-SO-SKINNY body perfectly.

Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb: OK, let's just begin with "HUNEY YOU ARE GORGEOUS!!" That hair, the eyes, the look. She should be "Miss Venezuela"! I know she's from the "South" but she looks like she should be from "SOUTH AMERICA"! I like the gown except I just feel it did not need the slit. But I "get it" since she was so "covered up" with the high neck and drop shoulder cap sleeves...The torso is VERY "Figure Skating 101" but if you know just a little about also might realize, I kinda like that.

Miss Rhode Island USA Olivia Culpo: The color on this Empire-waist style gown is exquisite. It's Grecian, it's Pageant, it's Haute Prom, and it's got the subtle crystal trim detail to add just enough bedazzle! And need I add, I am LOVING the "I'm just walking by and Oh, is that a Photographer??!!" pose.

It will be interesting to see what gowns these girls actually chose to wear to tonight's Miss USA 2012 very important Preliminary Competition--where the Top Semi Finalists are chosen for Sunday night's Final Telecast. I'll have my "Best" and "Oh No She Didn't" of the Miss USA 2012 Preliminaries soon..Stay Tuned Pageant Kids!

SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss USA 2012 Portrait Evening Gowns: Plunging, High Slits


Slits and "That's My Armpit" Pose Galore!!!

Plunging: Miss Georgia USA 2012 Jasmyn "Jazz" Alexandria Wilkins shows off her leg and her her "Miss USA 2012" website portrait evening gown photo--She's gorgeous and HOT HOT HOT...but in this white too-plunging and too-high slit gown, I am thinking "Is she wanting to be Miss USA or Miss Stripper USA?

This Sunday--June 3rd, 2012, 9 PM on NBC--is the Miss USA 2012 Pageant. The 61st annual pageant will take place LIVE from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada. Since it will air at 9PM, that means that the actual pageant will begin around  6 PM PST time.

So yes, kids, that means, I will be making nachos, guacamole and my infamous Cadillac watch the the fabulous beauty pageant, and especially check out the bedazzled gowns so I can review them and bring back my "Nick Beauty Pageant Gown" two cents to you right here on my little ol' blog.

Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella puts her hand prints Planet Hollywood's Resort's Walk of Fame, Las Vegas Nevada

Last week, the Miss Universe/USA Organization posted on their website the "Miss USA 2012 Evening Gown Portraits". These were provided by one of the sponsors (Sherri Hill) and for the site, they were contractually obligated to wear them, I am assuming. Some, might in fact wear these as their final LIVE Telecast evening gown, and a lot, will probably not, since they have already chosen an evening gown to "feature" for the Preliminaries and the Final Telecast this coming Sunday.

Bronzed Slit: Miss District of Columbia USA 2012 Monique LaShone Thompkins, is working her one-shoulder side applique gown with an UBER high slit. After you get a look at how high that slit is...take a look at them platform heels. There's nothing more obvious to tell that a short girl is SHORT than by SHOWING them big platform heels. Miss Monique: HIDE them platforms huuuuney! Like NOW!

The "It's 1998 Beauty Pageant Gown" Award Goes To....

Alaina Bergsma Miss Oregon USA 2012:  She's absolutely stunning. Yet, she looks like a pageant girl from a pageant in...1998, in this black and silver silver sequined halter necklined-and-high-side-slit number. It is THE definition of a "Pageant Betty" gown. I think I remember seeing Mary Hart back in some Entertainment Tonight episode from 1996 actually wearing something like this! I just wished she could have chosen something else; maybe something closer to the 21st century.

Plunging + High Slit + Backless = Too Mucheeeyy... 

Kelsey Dow Miss Arkansas USA 2012 chose to wear this pale blue-green gown for her "Miss USA 2012 Evening Gown Portrait". While the previous dress was very 1998, this dress has arrived at 2001. There's the plunging neckline showing the "sisters", then there's the high center front slit. And if that was not enough, yes there seems to be a cut-out back exposing that section as well. Seriously, can we stop all that???

Why the Armpit Pose??? Why???

These three contestants should have known better. I give them "Party Girl" points and would probably LOVE to have many a Cadillac Margarita with them...however...for the official Miss USA 2012 Pageant Evening portrait, they should have chosen another pose. Or at least, they should have befriended the photographer and convinced him NOT to chose that one!

Rebecca Hodge Miss Iowa USA 2012: Rebecca is SO cute, I cannot even stand it!! Just look at her. I even (sort of) like her gown. Sequined, gunmetal, halter, no UBER-high slit or too-plunging far so good. It's just that pose. Beyonce is credited for the "Arms Up In The Air" pose, but even she stopped that. It's like "Yes, I waxed...take a look!"

Next up...Miss Lousiana USA 2012 Erin Edmiston: Once again, I do not have much of a problem with the nude-colored sequined one-shoulder gown. OK, well, it should have been fully lined, but...other than that, well done. Again, it's the pose. She's very beautiful and doesn't need the arm-behind-the-head pose. Here, the message is "I waxed AND my Gown has NO lining!"

Finally--in the "Armpit Pose but Nice Gown" section...we have Miss Maine USA 2012 Rani Williamson: Once again, this woman is so gorgeous. Look at that perfect face, lips, hair...the gown isn't even bad. It's just the "Come-hither" and "I'll Steal You From Your Boring Wife" pose that gets me. Once again, I'd love to hang out with her and hear her "husband-stealing stories" but at the same time, I don't think this would be a good evening gown image to send to the world if you want to be the next...Miss USA.

Honorable "What Is She Holding Up Pose/Too Much Polyester in One Gown" Mention:

Miss Mississippi USA 2012 Myverick Rashea Garcia: First off, THAT name! Some Drag Queen in Mississippi is really bummed that she didn't choose this as her stage name! Seriously, MYVERICK RASHEA. Moving on. Two things here: what is she holding? I think that is all the train of the dress. And if it is: Lordy!! Is this a Wedding Gown or a Pageant Gown? I don't think it is necessary to have that much train unless, well, you're Eva Longoria and showing up to the Cannes 2012 Red Carpet. Just drop all that and let the photographer's assistant sweep it around you. Now, speaking of all that train: there is far too much polyester and figure skating costume-like applique happening in one gown. On a good note, this tacky-licious gown can do TRIPLE DUTY: it's a pageant, wedding gown and Figure Skating Costume all rolled up into one dress!

*Up Next; The "Nick Approved" Miss USA 2012 Website Portrait Evening Gowns...Stay Tuned.

NICK APPEARANCES.....Macy's Valley Fair San Jose "Brasil" Event: RECAP!


San Jose Goes Brazilian!

Apresentando...Nick: Nick Verreos Hosts "Brasil" Fashion Presentation Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose

To wrap up my fun San Fransisco Bay Area Macy's "Brasil" hosting appearances last week/weekend, here's my RECAP of the last event I hosted at the Macy's Valley Fair in Santa Clara/San Jose last Saturday. If you've been keeping up with my blog here, last Thursday I hosted a very fun event at the Macy's San Francisco "flagship" in Union Square.. So, now, I was ready to  "Go South" and make sure the San Jose area got a little Brazilian!

Macy's, as you know, just introduced a fabulous new "Spring/Summer 2012" campaign promoting the South American nation of Brasil, it's beauty, culture, fashions, I was happy when they called and asked me to help out with a couple of the "Brasil" events...

I put on my turquoise-colored TopMan jacket (one of my faves!), skinny black jeans, skinny coral-colored TopMan tie, Gucci boots and well, I was ready! I arrived at the Macy's Valley Fair to a bright and sunny day as the second floor Macy's Impulse Department was preparing for today's fashion presentation.

 Macy's Valley Fair "Brasil" Event: DJ Antonio Guedes

The Scene at Macy's Valley Fair "Brasil" Event: Flower display/table onstage (right)

There was a mini catwalk stage set up, with gorgeous flower displays, seats set up like a Fashion Week runway show my new bestie DJ--DJ Antonio of Braza!--was already spinning some samba lounge tunes getting all the shoppers in the mood.

Nick Verreos, Purple Plant Smoothies stand, Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose "Brasil" event

Purple Plant was also on hand giving out free samples of their DELICIOUS smoothies while shoppers and runway show attendees were getting ready for the show.

Macy's Brasil Accessories Table, Macy's "Brasil" Fashion Presentation Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose

I headed backstage to check out the fashions, accessories and models...and then it was "Show Time"!!! The "Brasil" Macy's Valley Fair Fashion Presentation consisted of many, many looks, showing trends, silhouettes and styles, that were Brasil-inspired and all (of course) available at Macy's.

Purse Happy: Nick Verreos with models--and purses--Macy's "Brasil" Fashion Presentation Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose

 I don't know why but I was OBSESSED with purses today while hosting the Macy's Valley Fair "Brasil" presentation. Several times when the models came out in front of the audience, I had to point out the fun colorful purses...(I think it was because I wanted them!).

Carlos Falchi handbags for Macy's, Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose

Now speaking of purses, as part of the afternoon's Macy's Valley Fair "Brasil" event, Accessories/handbag designer extraordinaire Carlos Falchi--who happens to be from Brazil-- was THERE! (I know, SHUT the Brazilian Front Door!)

Purse Boys: Nick Verreos and Carlos Falchi, Macy's Valley Fair Santa Clara/San Jose "Brasil" event

After I did my Fashion Presentation hosting duties, I RAN downstairs to Level One, so I could meet the one-and-only Carlos Falchi. He was AMAZING: so sweet, affable, forthcoming and well, let's say he's my new Brazilian "Poppa Bear" (I didn't really have one before so, it's just him!). Meeting him really made my day and capped off a FABULOUS Macy's "Brasil" hosting weekend! Until next time San Francisco Bay Area...Thanks for always being so fabulous!!!

TRAVELING IN STYLE.....Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition, de Young Museum San Francisco


Couture Mon Dieu!!!

Museum Boys: David Paul (left) and Nick Verreos (right), de Young Museum "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk" Exhibition

Last weekend, as part of my trip to Macy's Union Square San Francisco, I got some time off from my hosting duties and got to experience some "culture": I went to "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk" Exhibition in San Francisco's famed de Young Museum. The exhibit began in March with a VIP Gala party attended by Gaultier, Suzy Menkes, A-List Hollywood Celebs, SF social mavens and drag queens alike...

The exhibition ends in August and well, I just had to see it before it was too late. My NIKOLAKI design partner--David Paul--as well as his mom Conchita (who was in from San Diego) came with me.

Signed Wall: Jean Paul Gaultier autograph, de Young Museum, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk"

This dynamic, multimedia exhibition includes 140 haute couture and prêt-à-porter designs created between the mid-1970s and 2010, along with numerous sketches, archival documents, fashion photographs, and video clips that spotlight Gaultier’s collaborations with filmmakers, choreographers, and musicians, most notably Madonna (keep reading).

Talking Gaultier: de Young Museum, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk"

For this presentation, Gaultier partnered with the Montreal-based theater company Ubu Compagnie de Création in the design of 30 animated mannequins who talk and sing in playful and poetic vignettes. Besides these "talking mannequins", there was a "moving runway" which also featured many of his designs.


Faux Suit and Native American Wedding Goddess, de Young Museum, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk"

There were many. The exhibit was marvelous in its all-encompassing grasp of Gaultier's world. I LOVED every minute of it. It was amazing to be so close to the awe-inspiring handwork of Haute Couture and seeing the gowns and tailleur. I LOVED his "faux" suit where a gray jacket sat affixed to straps on the mannequin...and the Native American Wedding Gown: Perfection (both seen in above pics).

Gaultier Nautical Princess: A striped sweater and feathered gown creation: (right) as worn on Princess Caroline of Hanover and on the mannequin (right), de Young Museum, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk"

Barbarella Couture: A look from Jean Paul Gaultier Fall/Winter 2009 Haute Couture Collection modeled by Magdalena Frackowiak (left) and on a mannequin in the de Young Museum "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk" exhibition.

Je T'aime Afrique: A Jean Paul Gaultier "Mask" and silk tulle wedding gown from his Spring/Summer 2005 Haute Couture Collection on the runway (right) and in the de Young Museum "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk"exhibition (left)

 And then, there's...MADONNA:

Cone Bra Tribute:  Madonna Costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. de Young Museum "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk" exhibition

Of course there were several sections of the exhibition paying homage to Madonna and her costume collaborations with Jean Paul Gaultier, including the famous--or is it infamous--cone-bra.

Fashion Illustration Heaven: I LOVED seeing the fashion illustrations from Gaultier of Madonna's various costumes designed by the French designer (above photos)...

Ride 'em Couture: Another highlight was seeing some of the costumes Gaultier designed for Madonna's "Confessions" tour--Jean Paul Gaultier Costumes for Madonna, de Young Museum "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk" exhibition

It was a FABULOUS exhibition and I was so happy to have seen it! If you guys are in San Francisco and LOVE fashion, costume exhibits, Haute Couture, and is a MUST-SEE!

Click HERE for all the details.