Thursday, August 11, 2011
EuroStar: NIKOLAKI Collection at a first ever "TREDICI 13" Fashion Show sponsored by the Miami University of Ohio Summer School in Florence Italy Program. You can click HERE to read my posting of the Fashion Show, including a favoloso video and tons of photos. This post here is all about my time in Firenze after the Fashion Show, partaking in a special lecture alongside fellow designer and Project Runway Season 6 Finalist Althea Harper, as well as a tour of the new POLIMODA Institute Campus. POLIMODA International Institute of Fashion Design Tour: The day following our very well-received runway presentation, Althea along with her lovely sister, Maeve (who accompanied Miss Althea on her "Europe Summer 2011" trip), David and I joined students and instructors from the Miami University of Ohio Summer in Italy for a tour and special presentations/lectures at the POLIMODA International Institute of Fashion Design--the Premier University in Florence, specializing in Fashion and the Marketing of Fashion.
Hands on The Hips: Nick Verreos and Althea Harper lead the Miami University of Ohio Study Abroad students to a Photo Pose-Off--POLIMODA International Institute, Firenze ItaliaWe had been to POLIMODA on my previous visits to Florence, having been invited to speak & lecture at the Miami U. Summer in Italy Program, but this was a brand new Campus location for POLIMODA. Last year we began the tour by "climbing" up the hill to the Villa Strozzi, once the summer residence of one of the most powerful families of Florence, the Strozzi family. But this year, Institute is undergoing a "location change", to the more centrally-located Villa Favard in one of the toniest sections of Florence. We even got a wonderful and very special lecture from its famed Director, Linda Loppa.
Miami U. Calendar Boys: Althea Harper and Nick Verreos pose with "The Boys" of Miami University Summer In Italy Program, POLIMODA InstituteLecture Time: The Gould--site of last night's Fashion Show, as well as the Campus Headquarters for the Miami University of Ohio Summer In Italy Program. There , both Althea and I lectured to a group of the program's Journalism students--all set up with their laptops (Note taking 2011!). The students listened intensely as we spoke of our backgrounds, how we "got to where we got", as well as the importance of social media in the fashion world, strategies for interviewing subjects, and how to create a good story/article--especially if the subject matter might be "foreign" to you. Grand Hotel Minerva overlooking the Piazza Santa Maria Novella as well as breathtaking views over the Duomo. But before we left, I had to snap a "Miami Vice in Firenze" photo with Jerry Ingram--photographer extraordinaire as well as the Producer of the TREDICI 13 Fashion Show--it's become a tradition. See for yourself: Rome: Soon, we were off to Rome. David and I had one full day in Rome before returning back to the USA and so, we were going to "Make It Work!" and do a Marathon Rome Tour! Of course, we hit up the monumental Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheater: David Paul in front of the Flavian Amphitheater/Roman Colosseum (notice his little bag from Gucci!!) Afterward, we walked (yes, we WALKED EVERYWHERE!) to the Victor Emmanuel Monument (above photo), honoring Italy's first king, Victor Emmanuel II. Then we stumbled--literally--onto the... Mario Testino Photo Exhibit "Todo O Nada", which had just opened!! This exhibit features 54 photographs of Testino, exploring his two loves, Fashion and the Nude. Model Stella Tennant by Mario Testino, "Todo O Nada" Exhibition, Rome Italy It was so GOOD!!!! We bought the book, a full-size poster/print--well, you name it, we bought it!! We also headed to the Piazza di Spagna, or Spanish Steps, where yes, there were THRONGS of people (see above photo)--mostly young tourist just chillin' on the steps or walking the chic shopping streets. I also noticed the "V" for Valentino insignia nearby which happened to be Palazzo Mignanelli, which belongs to yes, Valentino. This meant one thing: Photo Time... And in case you were wondering, yes we eventually made it to the Fontana del Trevi or Trevi Fountain (above). It was--as usual--PACKED, but somehow, I still got a fun photo of David doing the requisite "Make a Wish and Throw a Coin" toss. I got the pic midway:
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Je T'Aime Paris!!!!!
Gay Pareee: A Paris Window Display showing Rainbow Eiffel Towers
Well, since I am in a post-photos-of-my-traveling sort of mood--being that it is Labor Day Weekend, when lots of people do some traveling---I also decided this would be the PERFECT time to finish off my "Europe 2010 Nick and David Travel Blog" with a Recap of the last city we visited a month and a half ago, when we went to Europe: Paris.
Petit Prince: Nick Verreos at the Golden Gates of the Petit Palais Museum, Paris FranceTo catch you up to speed--in July--I was invited to do a lecture for the Miami University of Ohio Summer In Europe Program (for a second year in a row!) in Florence Italy. After my stint there, David and I decided to spend some R & R at the AMAZING Amalfi Coast, and then, before returning to the good ol' US of A, we finished it all off with a quick trip to Paris.
The Petit Palais Museum, Paris France
Our main goal was to see the Yves Saint laurent Retrospective Exhibit at the Petit Palais Musee Des Beaux Arts De La Ville De Paris. That was it! No other excuse.There was an entire WALL devoted to what seemed like HUNDREDS of Le Smoking (see above)--from tuxedo suits to skirt suits to gowns.Nick Verreos and David Paul, outside the I.M. Pei Pyramid Louvre Museum The following day (I couldn't do anything after THAT!), David and I decided to head toward the Louvre...Afterward, David and I decided to do some sightseeing and shopping (of course!): We headed to the Arc du Triomphe (above), and then checked out the Summer Sales at...But there was one thing I was FASCINATED by:They were ALL OVER Printemps! I was especially fascinated by the silhouette of their hairstyles under their Hermes scarves: Very "Alien" (the movie)-esque, pulled back High bun. I dubbed them "The Dubai Women". Recently (after returning from Europe at an event I hosted) I met a 20-something woman living in the Middle East and told her about these women in Paris. She corrected me and said that they were probably from Kuwait (because of the high-back bun under the scarves, she said). Wherever they were from: They had LOTS of money, were FABULOUS, and LOVED shopping VERY EXPENSIVE brands.Wish I was them! With that, it was time to go back to our hotel, rest and get ready to return to the States. I look forward to my next trip to Europe--and hopefully, more run-ins with my "Dubai Divas", better (non-humid) weather and yes, a better Euro-US Dollar Exchange....Wishful thinking! Click below for a video of International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes and a Tour of the YSL Retrospective Exhibit: Click below for the ENTIRE YSL Retrospective Runway Fashion Show: Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: Part 4:
David Paul, outside the Petit Palais Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective, Paris FranceLast year we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower (in pouring rain!), we did the Seine, the Marais--"been there done that". It was ALL ABOUT Yves and his Haute Couture. The exhibit opened in March and was to close August 29Th so we made it just in time! Three words: It was INCREDIBLE!!!! There are FIFTEEN different rooms showing the Master's Art from his days with Christian Dior, to...
Le Controversial: Yves Saint Laurent's much-maligned Spring 1971 Haute Couture CollectionHis controversial 40's-inspired (some say he glamorized World War II) Collection. There is an amazing room which recreates Catherine Deneuve's "private closet" of Saint Laurent Couture, plus his Atelier Desk which looks as if it was lifted from his office the day he retired. And of course, various tributes showing how he "revolutionized" fashion, such as: Introducing pants into the female wardrobe, The Safari Jacket, Transparency as well as Le Smoking:
I actually began to heave and cry uncontrollably (not joking!!!). I don't know what came over me. Well, I actually do: It was the sight of over ONE HUNDRED Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Gowns that did it! David turned around and saw me crying and just smiled. Oh Yves, look what you do to me!!!
And check out the Exhibit in the "Histoire Ideale de la Mode Contemporaine Vol. 1: 70-80"Musee des Arts Decoratifs, which showed a range of fashion encompassing the 70's and 80's. It was a nice exhibit but I must admit, it was VERY Francophile...no US designers, who by the way, were SOOOO important to the 70's and 80's. Can you say "Where was Halston, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis, Diane Von Furstenberg, James Galanos, Nolan Miller, etc.?" Nope, none of them. Just A LOT of Lacroix, Mugler, and Castelbajac. Which was OK, but there were LOTS of omissions.
Printemps as well as Galleries Lafayette. Printemps is more upscale--like a Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue. Galleries Lafayette is more Bloomindales/Macy's. We didn't buy anything but we tried LOTS of stuff on (the Euro exchange is still NOT happy with us Americans!).
All the Middle Eastern DIVAS in Paris!!! There were TONS of them: All shopping, all in groups, every other one featuring Hermes head scarves, their traditional Abaya--or cloak/overdress--and Marc Jacobs or Fendi sunglasses and TONS of shopping bags!! Now, I'm not talking H&M or Zara. Nope kids: Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton. Oil Money Makes Women Shopping Happy!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Geometry of Couture: Paris Part TwoTaking The Metro: Nick Verreos arrives at the Rue de Rivoli stop in Paris My Paris visit last ended with my visit to the Louvre for some fashion inspiration and waiting in line during a thunderstorm (sans umbrellas, thank you very much!) for the Eiffel Tower and an eventual elevator ride up to the famed structure. Les Arts Decoratifs Museum After sightseeing, we decided to return to the Louvre area, but this time we were in search of BIAS CUT DRESSES. As we exited our Rue de Rivoli Metro stop, we made our way to the Arts Decoratifs, our favorite Paris Museum (sorry, Louvre). It's the one that holds the Costume and fashion exhibitions and various other more "tangible" arts.Bias Hankerchief Cocktail Dress, Vionnet Exhibit Les Arts DecoratifsRectangular Bias Cut Heaven: One of my Favorite Dresses from the Vionnet Les Arts Decoratifs exhibit They had just unveiled the new Madeleine Vionnet Exhibition. Vionnet was the "creator" of the bias-cut dress and actually one of my greatest inspirations. When people ask me "Who are the greatest Designers and influences?", Vionnet is on my list. The gowns and dresses on display were stunning! I marveled at the construction and all the flowing geometry in front of me. There were so many gowns that could EASILY work for 2009, it was proof that a Vionnet gown is without a doubt, timeless. Shirred Silk Tulle Meets Bias: Gowns at the Vionnet Arts Decoratifs Exhibit The exhibit was sectioned into time periods. Starting with the beginning of her altelier in the early 1900s, through the 1920's and 30's until her retirement in 1939 (she lived until 1975: aged 98!!). There were also great digital videos explaining the technical mastery of Vionnet's dresses and how 3 simple squares somehow (in Vionnet's hands) would be transformed into the definition of an exquisite cocktail dress. I wish young students of fashion were more passionate about fashion and especially the patternmaking and technical aspects of the craft. A Vionnet Gown circa 1933 that could easily be worn in 2009, Les Arts Decoratifs Museum Vionnet also understood the significance of her work and meticulously documented her own career. Upon her retirement in 1939 she donated the majority of her work to the archives of the UFAC (today part of the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris) including 120 dresses from 1921 to 1939 and all of her patterns, lookbooks and photos. Work that tie-neck: Emerald silk plunging-neck silk crepe dress, Vionnet Exhibit Les Arts Decoratifs There weren't too many visitors at this exhibit since it had just opened a week before. However as I was gawking at the dresses--nose-to-the-glass--I spotted the one and only, Spanish socialite and Haute Couture Icon Naty Abascal! Yes, the DIVA herself! She was there, also touring the newly-opened exhibit. I doubt anyone else in the museum recognized her but as a child who has been brought up by HOLA MAGAZINE and having just watched the Valentino Documentary, I sure as heck knew! La Diva: Nick spotted (and followed) Naty Abascal at Les Arts Decoratifs She was in town for Haute Couture Week (I assumed) and was giving "Le Sport", in white skinny denim jeans, driving flats, a printed Pucci blouse with turned up collar and a sweater around her shoulders. Yeah, I have an AMAZING eye for detail. Don't even mess with it! As my heart began to palpitate faster (and David got farther and farther away from me), I wanted to approach her and introduce myself, but I decided against it. I should have. No Should've Would've Could've I like to preach, however, for this instant, I didn't follow my own mantra. Besides being at the unbelievable presence of Vionnet's creations, being near such a style icon as Naty Abascal, was really one of my highlights of my Paris trip. Really. Well, time to bid Paris Adieu and make my way to Italy.... Nick on the TGV, Paris to Florence Italy
Louvre Dresses, French Onion Soup, and A Wet Eiffel Tower... Part One of my Paris tripGingham in Paris: Nick Verreos arrives at the Eiffel tower (pre-thunderstorm) As part of my Europe trip, prior to going to Florence Italy for my speaking engagement, I got to enjoy several days in Paris. It was actually my first stop, before causing more "Uncle Nick" mayhem later, mais oui! Paris was simply gorgeous! As the iconic t-shirt says "Je HEART Paris". David and I stayed in a hotel near the Marais called the Hotel Gabriel. We loved it; it was a very chic, "boutique-style" hotel in a very centralized location. Pyramid Fever: Nick stands near the I. M. Pei Louvre Pyramid entrance The staff was wonderful, the decor was minimalist and modern and best of all, the bathroom was FIERCE (trust me on this one, in Europe those hotel bathrooms can be questionable). And we loved all the French TV channels on our flat screen (whenever we were in the room!). Paris was very Michael Jackson crazy (it was right during his death) and that's all that was on TV, so we got "caught up" on all the drama, 5,660 miles away!Free Sundays at the Louvre: Can you find Nick? Besides enjoying our petite boutique hotel we did do some sightseeing. We visited the Louvre, of course. It was a Sunday and for some reason, it was FREE!! I love FREE as much as I love the words "Hermes" and "Louis Vuitton" but the crowds were RIDICULOUS. There must have been hundreds of "le touriste paparazzi" trying to shoot DaVinci's Mona Lisa "La Gicconda"! She's the Lindsay Lohan of Paris.Sleeve Detail in a painting at the LouvreNIKOLAKI inspiration at the Louvre: The vibrant colors, the exquisite draping For this trip to the Louvre, I decided to do more of a "fashion inspirational" tour and took photos of some great artwork which inspired me for the sake of fashion. Details of a fitted self-buttoned sleeve, a gentle cowl drape of a tunic, the vibrant colors on all those amazing religious paintings. David had the camera and I kept yelling "David--take a photo of that sleeve...of that neckline...of that brooch on a painting". It was quite funny (not to David).Eurotrash: Nick --Colette bag in hand--in front of the Place Vendome It was Haute Couture Week in Paris and besides the regular Parisian crowds and tourists in their shorts and flip flops (I know, flip flops in PARIS-Mon Dieu! Gross!), there were also tons of fashionistas walking the streets near Rue de Rivoli and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. David and I stopped by Colette and did some retail damage naturally. I love that store.Not The Jules Verne Restaurant: For less than 20 Euro, Nick enjoys the most delicious French onion Soup EVER and salad, near the Eiffel Tower During my stay in Paris, I couldn't miss visiting the Eiffel Tower. Our friends recommended we have dinner at the Jules Verne Restaurant on the second floor, however paying 200 Euro for an entree PER PERSON, me and wallet weren't "having it"! (note to self: Time to get friends with lower tax brackets). So, instead, we braved the lines and decided to go up the tower instead. However, unbeknownst to our non-umbrella-carrying selves, a major thunderstorm began its menacing attack on Paris--while we were waiting in the line, of course. Somehow, we still did it. The view was stunning since when we got up , the rain had ended and Paris was picture perfect.See you for Part Deux: Nick and David pose above the Seine River....... And below is a fun little video: