Honestly, I did not. This was not a "master plan" of mine when I decided to sign up to do "Project Runway". A lot of designers going on the show now are more savvy and have a "secret" master plan. I did not. Mine was simple: To show my fabulous and sexy designs to a wider audience so women all over the US--not just LA--could be more aware of the fabulosity that is NIKOLAKI. However, I am ecstatic that this other parallel life has taken afoot. I was always one of those people that sat at home watching these so-called fashion experts giving their uneducated two cents on those post "Oscar's Best and Worst Dressed" shows. I would be frustrated when they would introduce the "fashion expert" and he/she would be the Decorator for "America's Extreme Home Make-Over" for example. Like they could not find anyone in Los Angeles with a resume in fashion, qualified enough to comment? It drove me CRAZY! So I am happy when I am now being asked to do this, because I feel that I have the resume to back it up, as it were. And I try to educate as well as give advice and not be hurtful and unnecessarily mean, as you can see in my MSN Style Studio videos. I love doing those.
Some of our readers think that PR Canada is actually better than S4 because it reminds them of the raw talent of the first seasons of the American version of the show. Do you agree with them? Did you think that the Canadian version was different? Equal to PR US? Better?
Oh my God! You just took the words right out of my mouth! I have to agree, unfortunately, at least from what I have seen so far. I have watched every episode of Project Runway Canada on YouTube or Slice.ca.com in conjunction with our new season 4 and I concur with your readers that the Canadian version reminds me so much more of that raw talent of the first two seasons of the show. In fact, after viewing the first 4 episodes of Project Runway Canada, I emailed one of the executive producers and told her how great it was and how much it reminded me of my Season of the show. She replied by saying that she was honored that I had made that
comparison. I know this sounds cheesy but I am almost tearing up after every episode of PR Canada ends. I am excited to see what the challenges are, what the designers make and what very-critical comments Miss Iman will make.
With the US version, on the other hand , I just haven't felt that emotional connection with the designers and feel somehow that they lack that certain "je ne sais quoi" and spark of passion in their eyes which is very evident in the Canadian designers. I am also intrigued that the Canadian designers seem to do much more and almost have a bit more skill than some of their US counterparts. If you doubt this, just take a look at the "Make a Gown for the Opera Diva" Challenge. With that said, I know this fourth season just started and I am still holding out to make definitive judgments or comparisons. This is just my observations from a very early stage of the season.
Now dish, are you rooting for anyone in particular? Anyone in particular that was difficult to work with?
It was weird. Since they came to LA, to a foreign workspace, a foreign mentor, they were at first a bit hesitant and distant with me. Especially Shernett and Marie Genevieve. In the three short days we shot, I really had to work my "Nick Magic" so they could "warm" up to me. I instantly liked crazy Biddell and Stephen. Stephen's design philosophy paralleled mine. He loves silk jersey and draping and femininity above anything else. Also, he was the most excited to have me be the "guest mentor". He had watched my season and was a big fan. Marie Genevieve, for example, confided in me, saying that she had no idea of who I was, because she doesn't watch TV. I guess to her, I was what Tiki Barber was to every gay watching the recent menswear episode in Season 4!
Biddell was the most difficult to work with, in terms of giving my constructive advice. As he stood there, I could almost hear him saying "You're NOT our regular mentor so back off". But he later warmed up a bit. In terms of rooting for a favorite: I have a feeling it will be between Marie Genevieve and Biddell. Two extremes: Crazy vs. Chic. The third one would be Lucian.
Iman vs. Heidi: GO!
Oh, no you didn't! They are both great (yes, I am going to be very "Switzerland" on this one!). I love Iman's biting critical remarks. She gets so emotional about her comments to the designers. While Heidi is just nice, with a bit of a fun diss here and there. I sense Heidi just doesn't feel as emotionally attached to the designers as Iman does. It would be hard because if I were them, I would be crying after each one left. It's good to "separate yourself", especially when you are a judge.
What are your thoughts on the menswear challenge for PR? You said it was a "sweet redemption" on your blog.
I stand by my "recap" of that challenge. I must admit, however, that I had my second thoughts in posting it. David (my partner) (after reading it) said , "Well, if you feel this way...but be prepared to have readers say things like 'Oh, you bitter Bitch!' " No one has left a comment like that... yet! I said that because it was actually David, in fact, who said it first,while watching the episode. I asked him , "What do you mean?" And he explained. And I said "You're right!". I felt that I got a lot of negative feedback from viewers asking me why I didn't put pockets, why I didn't put buttons, and so on. And yet, it frustrated me that they overlooked the fact that I had finished a fully lined tailored jacket, a placket-front shirt, skinny pants AND a silk scarf, in less than two days! I thought that people just didn't understand what it took to make menswear and that it wasn't easy. Well, after watching this episode, I think the public is more aware and I titled it "Sweet Redemption" because I always thought my Daniel Vosovic suit didn't look THAT bad, especially when compared to what some of these designers put forth on the runway this time around.Speaking of blogs…your controversial remark on yours about Tim's statement that this is the most talented group: "It's rather insulting for all the actual talent that has been seen from previous seasons who have created marvelous work." Do you still think that? And what DO you think of the current crop so far?
First of all, let me say, that I personally know some of this season's designers and know that they ARE extremely talented. Rami Kashou, for example has been a colleague of mine here in LA and I have been a fan of his work ever since he first came on the scene. His skill with draping and ability to create an entire look for his fashion shows is revolutionary, especially for an LA designer. But I just felt frustrated by Tim and Heidi's statements (which I know they have to make EVERY season to excite the viewing public) because it felt insulting to myself, Chloe, Jeffrey, Kara Saun,etc. We didn't just fall off the turnip truck! We all had established successful businesses, years of expertise in the industry and had proven ourselves within our own geographical centers. We just needed the show to expand our visibilities.
I believe this season's crop is very talented. Are they MUCH MORE TALENTED than the previous ones? That's debatable. I think what Tim and Heidi were trying to convey is that PR4 has a deeper field of talent than previous ones. Instead of what I feel was implied, which is that the top tier designers of previous seasons weren't as skilled, which I definitely don't agree with.
Every time we try to reach you you're off doing something. The last we heard was that you were in Kutztown, PA of all places for an appearance with Jeffrey and you were hosting a FIDM Holiday Event. How did it go?
I know, people constantly joke and say "When do you have time to sleep? You are EVERYWHERE!" You might be shocked to hear that I actually say "No" to a lot of events I am asked to participate in. But, I did say "yes" to going to Pennsylvania to speak to students at Kutztown University along with Jeffrey. I really enjoy doing the "speaking/lecture" circuit and meeting the young fans and up-and-coming designers across the US. I was invited to speak on the subject of the fashion industry as well as on Project Runway, of course. The capacity-filled auditorium went CRAZY when we came on stage and it never let up for the two hours! It was a joy to hear Jeffrey's story of how he got to where he is, which I never really knew. We exchanged stories of the industry and spoke candidly about our experiences. He was very real, no entitlements, no "I'm a Hollywood Star Designer/Diva/Rock Star." None of it. My favorite part of my stint at Kutztown with Jeffrey is how he would know just when to shut me up. I would be going on and on, like "...and when I was in band camp..." Jeffrey would suddenly then interject to the audience and say "I think what Nick is trying to say is... Follow your Dreams!".
As for the FIDM Holiday event. As you may know, I signed a deal with FIDM to be their official spokesperson and was asked to host an event held at the FIDM Scholarship Store. The store is located in the school and has everything from dresses, sweatshirts to gloves, jewelry and fabric. It is all donated by retailers and manufacturers and then sold at a major discount ($5 for a dress!) and the profits go to the students helping them financially. It's a great cause and a great store. We had a fashion show and hosted the event for VIP guests as well as media to let them know that the store is here doing the wonderful things it does and is a perfect one-stop shop for the Holidays.
What's coming up for Nick Verreos and Nikolaki?
Well, I am not slowing down that's for sure. I am a workaholic. I have a really strong work ethic and always feel like I have to be doing SOMETHING. David and I are developing a Contemporary (lower priced) dress line consisting of draped jersey and feminine woven dresses which we'll be selling in February 2008 for Fall deliveries. I am also working on a complete re-do of my Website as well as my blog. I am working with these fabulous web designers, Uber.com, and they will incorporate both blog and website together. They will be completely revamped and updated and the blog will have a whole new look and will be more interactive. Maybe an online boutique, who knows? I will remain at FIDM, teaching as well as hosting many events for the school. I will continue speaking at Universities across the country and am excited to do more segments for Style Studio in 2008. Lots to do. Watch what happens:)
(Debbie Matenopoulos, TV presenter and host of E! recently wearing one of Nick's designs from his recent W San Diego Spring 2008 Collection.)
PR CANADA EPISODE 9: RESORT WEAR GALORE
You can watch Parts 2-6 here.
[Photos: WireImage/NickVerreos.blogspot - Screencaps: ProjectRunGay - Videos: MsRoyaT/YouTube]