Last Thursday, I was invited by UCLA to judge their first ever, "Resident Runway", a take-off on "Project Runway", where residents/students of the UCLA residence halls held a fashion design contest in the same vain of the Bravo show. It was a nostalgic visit for me since I am an alumni of UCLA and had not been back since I graduated A LONG TIME AGO. It had been so long ago, that in fact, the building where the event was held, Covel Commons , was not even there when I attended UCLA! How sad is that? Boy, did I feel old!
I spoke for about 45 minutes about my time at UCLA and how I wished there would have been something like this when I was there. I also took questions from the "sold-out" audience. Some were great, ranging from "What is your favorite drink?" (Cadillac Margaritas), to "Who was your inspirational muse when I was a very young kid in Caracas, Venezuela?" (Empress Farah Dibah of Iran).
For the contest, there were over 15 designers (working in teams sometimes), all UCLA students-- freshmen, sophmores, juniors mostly. None of which had a fashion design major, since there is no such thing at UCLA. But all with a great drive and (obvious) design talent to create wonderful garments out of nasty ones.
On that note: The challenge they were given, only a few weeks ago, was to create an outfit out of thrift-store garments bought at Goodwill. Each of the designer students/teams were given 4 items such as a dress, jacket, pants and an accessory reminiscent of a bag lady and then they had to re-create it into something original, chic and stylish. I was amazed at what they did, especially since most of them had never sewn before and some of the outfits were hand-stitched together (not glued, thank you!) The winning ensemble was stupendous! They somehow made a fabulous hoodie jacket, shorty-shorts and a sexy stretch knit top out of bad "Golden Girls"-looking thrift store garments. The re-created outfit looked like something you would see at "Club Monaco" or "Banana Republic". (Picture of winning design is on the right. The designer modeled her own outfit!) It was impeccably sewn and stylish at the same time. Congratulations to the winners!
The night of the event, they also received a surprise challenge: They were given a T-shirt and had to tear it up, and create something else out of it, in 15 minutes! The results of that surprise challenge were also fun and innovative, ranging from a winning sexy mini-dress to an actual purse! I had so much fun coming back to UCLA and being part of this first-ever "Resident Runway" event.
All the students should be incredibly proud of themselves and I could tell that they all had so much fun, just by the huge smile on their faces. They needed a good fun break from studying all night for their Midterms!
Another upcoming appearance will be in BAKERSFIELD. I almost DIED when I saw the huge billboards they have put up in the city to advertise my appearance. It's one thing seeing myself on a 32" TV Screen, but something completely different to see yourself on a huge billboard! Lots of photoshop needed, let's just say! I will be a "special guest" at the "Look & Feel Your Best Expo", where I will speak about being a fashion designer and how I got there, as well as "dish" about my participation on the Bravo show. I will also be doing a "meet and greet" and hang out with all of Bakersfield's finest and most stylish!!!! This is a great event , so if you are in the area, or live nearby, stop by.
Besides my appearance, there are lots of other events planned all Saturday long (see below) and make sure to read THIS wonderful article/interview I did with a Bakerfield internet magazine:
When: Saturday, April 28, 2007 from 12 – 5PM
Where: Rabobank Convention Center,
1001 Truxtun Ave.
Bakersfield, CA, 93301
Cost: $10.00 Public
What: Bakersfield's Premier Image Event.
Do some shopping, have a cocktail, dress fashionably casual, and have fun!
Charity: A portion of the ticket sales will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.
Click Here for all the details
If I can't dress Angelina Jolie... I'll dress her look-a-like trainer's client!
Several months back , I was thrilled when I got a phone call from a good friend of mine,Meaghan Murphy, who besides being a writer for "Star Magazine", also helped me out over a year ago in designing my nikolakidesign.com website (along with my good friend Mike Lucas who also helped with the graphics for the Top Chef Apron). We arranged a "trade" of sorts: I would design a gown for her, in return for her help on the site.
Over a year passed and our hectic schedules never meshed. Until now. She told me that she was going to be on the Bravo hit show, "Work Out" , where she would be trained by Erika, the sexy Angelina Jolie-look-a-like trainer from Jackie Warner's "Sky Lab" gym.
Erika was going to whip her into shape and give her the body worthy of a Nick Verreos gown, or so she felt. The "Work Out" cameras caught everything, from the consultation to the final fitting. Our first meeting debuted in this week's episode (see Clip above).
You can also read an article about Meaghan's journey to a new and improved body (with a photo of her in the final gown) in this week's (April 30th edition) "Star Magazine. Look out for a more in-depth posting on Bravotv.com about my experience designing for Meaghan and my "brief" apperance on the show.
Two weeks ago, here in Los Angeles, we celebrated yet another LA Fashion Week. I have shown several times, either as part of the "official" Smashbox L.A Fashion Week and also by having my own show in a fabulous gallery space in Downtown L.A. called The Woman's Building . I've also shown in several "group shows", where along with other designers , we present our collections. This includes shows with CLAD (The Coalition of Los Angeles Designers) where we presented our designs for several seasons to press and buyers here on the West Coast.
I was asked by my friend, muse and model, Amara, if I could host the 6th Anniversary of "Siren And Sailors", a great boutique in the uber hip neighborhood of Silver Lake. Besides being a fabulous DIVA all around, and my "partner-in-crime" when the time came for me to go to the Season 2 casting of "Project Runway" two years ago, she also happens to be the manager of "Sirens And Sailors" and co-runs a production art-and-fashion outlet called "Globe Trekk" here and in Paris.
She said that they were going to have a huge party celebrating the anniversary with an "installation" which would include fashion, music, art, food and cocktails. I told her that I would agree to do it if I could also show my NIKOLAKI collection , along with the other designers that would be featured. Most of the designers were designers that are currently being carried at the eponymous Silver Lake boutique.
I ended up showing a "capsule" collection, a "preview" of my Fall 2007 collection; six beautiful pieces ranging from a few metallic gold linen cocktail numbers to Grecian-inspired (of course) Goddess draped dresses in an aubergine-colored jersey. I ended my mini-showing with a strapless black Duchesse siren gown with a metallic gold Obi back detail.
The show was held near Downtown L.A.'s Chinatown at the Marvimon House and it was a complete success! The space reached capacity so early on that several hundred people were not allowed in, including some of my best friends! I was so happy that I got to host such a great fashion-music-and-art event in LA that celebrated what is HOT right now in this fabulous town, but also, got to show a mini preview of some of my new designs and styles.
It was great to see the write up in the California Apparel News (click on the image to read) and to check out more on the event click HERE and HERE for more photos from some of the other designers.
Or so they say. Two months ago, (my Birthday was February 13th) I held a very "special" Birthday Bash/Housewarming at my brand new Downtown Los Angeles Loft/Studio. I invited all my friends and then some. In all, we had about 200 RSVP'ed, which had me a bit worried about a 1700 sq. ft. space holding all those people. I was waiting for the fire truck, with some hot L.A. Firemen to all of a sudden pull up in front of my studio. Alas, they never did. I hired the cutest bartenders to handle the bar , prepared a "Nick Playlist" of fun tunes, and raided Costco (I'm so classy!) for hors d'eourves . One of my greatest of friends, Greg, surprised me with the most delicious cake from Mrs. Beasley's (Thank God he did not put all the candles that should have been on it!).
The party turned out to be a success (at least that is what my friends told me days later when I inquired if they had fun or not). Unfortunately, because it got so crazy and packed so quickly, somehow amongst the fun, both David and myself forgot to take out the digital camera from the study drawer, in order to capture the whole celebration. Two of my friends , were smart enough to have brought cameras and began shooting away. Muchas gracias to Miguel Angel Reyes and Didi Simon for being my "official photographers".
They captured some of the guests in party mode, including my Diva model, Amara Wilson, giving you French Caribbean Chanteuse with a red carnation in her hair. Looking fabulous was my old friend, Yo, looking 1940's Working Girl, wearing a fierce snood. John Wade stopped by to wish me "Happy Birthday". Other guests who did not make the photographer's viewing range were my friend, former "Miss Universe" Brook Lee and her hunky husband, Tory, "Entourage" actor Rex Lee, as well as countless others. Now I am beginning to sound a lot like Andy Cohen in his BravoTV.com blog!
The best surprise of the night was when my friend from UCLA, Monika, walked in with another friend of ours, Lisa, whom I had not seen in years! She is now a doctor , living in Oregon and made a special trip, amongst other reasons, to come surprise me at my party. When she walked in, I almost dropped a whole bottle of tequila on the floor! It was wonderful spending my "special" birthday with her, as well as all my treasured circle of friends.
When I created my clothing line several years ago, I started subscribing and learned more from their articles than I had from any textbook!
Last week I grabbed a few days worth of newspapers (these things come everyday and they are hard to keep up with!) and I was excited to see an article on myself and my Prom Dress Line for Windsor. I met the writer, Khanh Tran, at the Fashion Show I did a few weeks back for my Nikolaki line and I was excited to tell her all the details about the collaboration. I was thrilled that she felt it worthy of printing! Although my Windsor Tour is complete, the dresses are still selling like crazy and the Justina and Ariel have been selling like Bagels (thanks Heidi)!!!
Click on the picture of the article to make it bigger to read.
Happy Easter to everyone! Hope that your Easter Egg hunting is going well! This last Friday, I was asked to fill in for Kimberly Caldwell and co-host TV Guide's "Reality Chat" show, alongside the beautiful Rosanna Tavarez. I was very excited to be on "Reality Chat" as a co-host, since I had already been a guest twice, while I was on "Project Runway" last year. Rosanna and I joked that people watching might get confused when they tune in, thinking they might have accidentally landed on the TELEMUNDO channel, with the two Latino hosts! We almost did turn it into a "Chisme (Gossip in Spanish) Hour with Rosanna and Nick" until the director reminded us of what the show was really about, discussing the week in reality TV. The night before, I even did my "homework" and watched HOURS of reality TV shows which were sent to me by the producers. Needless to say, I felt compassion for what Rosanna has to do EVERY WEEK. We had a really fun time doing it and hope to do it again sometime soon!
Besides dishing about all the reality shows, we also interviewed special guests like Sarah, the model voted off this last week in "America's Next Top Model", Carrie Ann Inaba, judge of "Dancing With Stars" and Rocky, from "Survivor: Fiji". Speaking of Innaba, just earlier in the week , I had been invited to watch a taping of "Dancing With The Stars" with my friend, former "Miss Universe" Brook Lee, who happens to be an old friend of hers. We were on her "list", but never got around to being introduced to each other because she was so busy doing post-show interviews. So I was thrilled to finally meet her, as well as interview her. You may also remember that my sister, Rita, was on "Survivor: Fiji" and was voted off, primarily because of Rocky's negative comments about her. With that in mind, I was also looking forward to meeting my sister's arch "nemesis". He was kinda swarthy, in a young "Sylvester Stallone-meets-Al Pacino-in 'Scarface' " sort of way. We also interviewed "LA's Cutest Puppy" and had him do a trick. Thank God the puppy didn't pee on the stage!
The show airs tonight at 7 PM (6 PM cental time) on the TV Guide Channel, so be sure to TiVo it. It will also repeat several times during the week. Click HERE for airing details.
My Windsor Tour of the US has concluded right here in Southern California, after brief, but fun stops in Chicago, Orlando, and Phoenix. Along the way, I met hundreds of young kids, their parents, their cousins, as well as "old folk" like me who took the time to come out and see me.
To celebrate my visits, I decided to make a "Windsor All-Stars" collage with some of my favorite and most memorable people who I met along the way. The first is a young designer-hopeful, Tito, who wrote in my blog the most heartwarming letter about how "I inspired him to break free of a motivation block " he had. After reading his letter, I had to post his photo with me as a "Thank You".
The next is an 11 year old girl, from Arizona, who loved watching "Project Runway" but didn't have other friends who watched the show, so she would come to school the next day and dish about the episode with her art teacher(the only other "Project Runway"-watcher she knew). I thought that was the cutest thing I have ever heard!
Also in Arizona, the cutest group of high school students (even though they looked as if they were in college!) had been waiting at the Windsor Store before I had even arrived. They were all dressed as if they walked out of the hippest boutique on Robertson Blvd. The boy in the group was wearing the fiercest Cavalli jeans with a saucy leopard-print. At this point , I have to say something about Chandler/Phoenix Arizona: It must be one of the fittest and best-looking populations in the US! It's as if all they do is rock climb and drink healthy Vitamin Water all day long! I saw so many 16 year old, 6 foot tall, size 4 future models, it was unreal! And the boys all looked like they came from an Abercrombie & Fitch billboard. If I was a model scout, I would get on the first plane to Chandler/Phoenix and do some scouting!
Next up, in the Riverside location, I was visited by a threesome of fans, who drove up from San Diego to see me. They were all led by my Official Nick Fan Stalker Extraordinaire, Brett (he is the Nicole Ritchie-skinny boy in the white thermal long-sleeve tee and super skinny jeans). I first met Brett at the FIDM Debut Pink Party last month where he officially declared himself my stalker! Another group of three (this time girls), also came to my appearance, and were searching for Prom Dresses. The Blonde girl in the Turquoise dress wanted a little bit extra up top. The dress she tried on has pads already attached inside the dress to give you that extra help! And the girl in the Champagne colored dress was worried about her tummy. I recommended the Ariel Dress (a top seller!) that is ruched across the stomach which is great for hiding any little flaws you might have.
At the last Southern California appearances, I met two fans, one of whom was dressed in the classic "Nick vest-and-tie outfit". So you know I had to get a photo with him! And to my surprise , they also brought their prized "My Scene Project Runway Barbie" for me to sign.
In the Glendale location, I reconnected with an uncle and HIS niece, seen here in black shirt and glasses, who were so incredible that they had already gone to one of my other previous appearances , where they took photos with me and now they were back to have me sign them! They get extra "Uncle Nick" points for that.
Finally, I almost broke into "Terms of Endearment" tears, when at two separate locations, standing in line to see me were two former co-workers of mine. Back when I was at UCLA and I was a political science major I worked part-time at a government agency in Westwood where I met these two great ladies!! This was way before I had aspirations of being a designer. I would draw all these fashion sketches at work for fun, and they would say to me "One of these days, you're going to be famous! And by the way, you need to graduate from UCLA already and go to fashion school!!" I had not seen them in over a decade!!! It was heartwarming to see Keshia (in green wrap dress) and Brenda(in Lacoste tracksuit). Brenda , in fact was my unofficial boss at the agency. Seeing them again just made my year!
A HUGE Thank You to everyone who came out to see me , and especially to those girls (and their mommies) who actually bought my Windsor dresses for their upcoming proms, formals or sweet sixteen parties. Sorry if you didn't "make the cut" for this collage, but it doesn't mean that I didn't love you also, it was mainly because of the limited space we had here. You can click HERE, and see the complete "Photo Album" from my Windsor Appearances and see your photos that we might have taken of you! A big "Congratulations" to the winners of the "Win a Nick Verreos Dress" contest. And a final "Hollah" to all the Windsor employees who made it so much fun for me.
Also, look out soon on the TV Guide Channel, in their Fashion and Style Show, because we filmed a special segments showcasing my dresses just in time for Prom Season 2007.