MEET THE STYLIST: NICK VERREOS
A Conversation with Celebrity Stylist Nick Verreos
Born in St. Louis, Missouri to a Greek-American father and Panamanian mother, Nick Verreos was raised in Caracas, Venezuela while his father worked as a US Diplomat for that country. Verreos realized his calling was fashion and subsequently attended The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles/FIDM, graduating with Honors in the Advanced Fashion Design Program.
After working for ten years in the Southern California fashion industry, in 2001 he began his own label, NIKOLAKI (“Little Nick” in Greek) with his design and business partner David Paul. The line sold in over 100 stores across the US, Japan and Latin America including Nordstrom and Fred Segal. His high-end dresses and gowns have been worn by Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Eva Longoria, and Heidi Klum.
Nick Verreos received national and international attention after appearing on Project Runway and became a fan favorite after winning “The Barbie Challenge”. Nick has enjoyed success as a red carpet fashion expert on E! Entertainment, Style, and TV Guide Network covering the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards as well as the Grammys. He has appeared on MTV’s The Hills, WB’s Crowned as well as Project Runway Canada and was a Guest Judge on Project Runway Season 6. He was the host of the first ever Oscar Design Challenge: Behind The Dress Competition exclusively on Oscar.com.
Nick was one of the featured celebrities in Sears’ “Grant A Wish” Holiday Campaign as well as appeared in the Virgin Mobile “Sparah” National Commercial Campaign. He was also the featured Fashion Expert for two popular web series on MSN.com entitled The Victory Project and Style Studio. Nick continues to be the Official Spokesperson for his Alma Mater, FIDM, as well as travels throughout the US hosting events for Macy’s and many other retailers.
In Spring 2013, Nick will launch “NV Nick Verreos”; an affordable line of dresses that will be carried throughout major department stores across the US.
We recently sat down with Nick to hear all about his styling career highlights.
Simply Stylist: Tell us the story behind your favorite wardrobe item. Nick: I can’t just narrow it down to ONE favorite wardrobe item, because I have several. First and foremost, I cannot live without my YSL “Johnny” Boots. I have two pairs - brown and black - and have had to re-sole them countless times! I LOVE them—they’re like my flip-flops, not kidding! Second, my skinny jeans—Levi’s Super Skinny 510, Zara Man and Naked & Famous Denim are my favorite. Last but not least, I own many jackets but my favorite has to be a TopMan Blazer I bought in turquoise blue. That jacket—combined with my YSL boots--are my “Instant Nick Ego Boost”!
SS: What's your most memorable 'panic moment'? Nick: Oh Dear! I have a good one: years ago, I was invited to a post-Emmy Awards bash in one of those fabulous hotels on Sunset Blvd. As my partner and I got there, we met up with—of all people—the one and only Heidi Klum. She was there with her then-husband, Seal. She proceeds to introduce me to him and the first thing out of his mouth is “Your Fly is down!” I froze and couldn’t speak for five minutes. Yes, I had a wardrobe malfunction…in front of Seal.
SS: How did you recover from it gracefully? Nick: I couldn’t. I just nervously smiled. But later, I thought “Why was he looking down there??”
SS: What is your favorite era for fashion? Nick: I would have to say that my favorite era of fashion was the 1950’s. It was such an elegant era for dressing—for both men and women. People dressed up. There was a lot of measured thought put into it. I still reference to that decade with a lot of my designs—the dramatic silhouettes, draping, structured shapes; think Grace Kelly. And some of my favorite designers also came from that time, designers like Balenciaga, Dior, Charles James, Jaques Fath.
SS: What was your big break? Nick: I would have to say, there were two. An obvious big break was being on Project Runway. I had been working as a designer in the fashion industry for over ten years and already had a very successful line, but, it was almost as if none of that mattered until “the world” recognized me…from Project Runway. My second big break was when actress Marlee Matlin wore one of my gowns to the Academy Awards on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of her receiving an Oscar. I remember the feeling of seeing her on TV and then calling everyone from here to Caracas, Venezuela, excited to relay the news!
SS: Whose closet would you most like to raid? Nick: For different reasons, I pick two women: Style Diva Daphne Guinness and Empress Farah Diba of Iran. I would probably shake to see all the amazing McQueen creations in Guinness’ closet and would spend days, if not weeks looking at every single seam, understructure, etc. And for Empress Farah Diba, I would be so curious to just see all the old school Haute Couture she has. She was one of the great Fashion Doyennes when she reigned alongside her husband, the Shah of Iran and every photo you see of her—from then—she’s wearing Dior, Balenciaga…you name it, she wore it. It would be like going to Haute Couture Fashion School if I had a peak into her closet. And yes, I’d like to raid them both! Not to wear but just to study the garments.
SS: Who are your favorite designers? Nick: Like I said, I adore Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Charles James. I also think Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino were THE Masters of Couture. But in terms of “newer” fashion designers, Raf Simons, Marc Jacobs, Giambattista Valli, Viktor & Rolf, Stephane Rolland, Dries Van Noten, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, and yes, the late Alexander McQueen would top my list.