Fashionable DC: Nick Verreos at the Corcoran
The contest? “All you have to do is tell me who the biggest reality TV show trainwreck is and why.” The winningest reply? “Dustin “Screech” Diamond couldn’t even gain the public’s irrational sympathy on Celebrity Fit Club.” And that’s how I went to my first after-hours lecture in DC and saw Project Runway’s Nick Verreos.
Partly a museum and partly a school, the Corcoran Gallery of Art hosts occasional educational programs and performances. I won tickets for Nick Verreos’ lecture via local arts website Brightest Young Things a.k.a. the cool artsy kids.
Verreos was a contestant on Season 2 of Project Runway, before it moved to Lifetime and when I still watched the show, and now manages his own clothing line. During his talk, a slideshow projected images of Hollywood starlets he has dressed including Heidi Klum and Marlee Matlin.
Many DCers can relate to his pre-reality TV celebrity experiences. Verreos’ father was a diplomat, so his family split their time internationally and in the District, and Verreos studied political science in college before pursuing design. On the other hand, I cannot relate to the fact that he was invited to Inauguration this year. “I raved to friends about how I was going to attend the Inauguration ball. That was the word I used, ‘ball,’ to make myself feel better because seriously what kind of event starts at 10:30 in the morning!”
Verreos listed some of his fashion pet peeves, such as pleated pants, leggings, and those notorious crocs. He expressed excitement that Washington is now inviting fashion in and being influenced by fashion. Michelle Obama is an example of a woman with strong fashion sense, he said. While the streets of DC can be both trendy and original, fashion is still functional in my government office. Women match their beaded ID lanyards as accessories to outfits, which means that red and green dominate around this season. The worst is the lanyard with bells.
Verreos conveyed how people have offered him sympathy since he arrived in the city due to the sloppy weather. He exclaimed, “Are you kidding me?! I love it! I get to wear all the winter fashions here. In California it’s flip-flops and board shorts everyday, and some of it ain’t pretty.” The audience groaned in that be-careful-what-you-wish-for way.
The lecture was thinly veiled as a two-hour advertising event by the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in California. School representatives were on hand to meet interested students and call out alumni in the audience, introduce Verreos as he took stage, and pass out literature at the front door. True, Verreos credits the school with his success because he was a graduate of FIDM and currently is an instructor there. I would have preferred more anecdotes about the fashion world (and what Project Runway mentor, Tim Gunn, is really like in person) rather than why he chose to attend FIDM. His lecture and Q&A time were interrupted to play the school’s marketing video of FIDM’s Debut 2009, the equivalent of a senior thesis as interpreted through a highly produced fashion show.
A wine and appetizer reception followed the lecture in the grand foyer of the museum. Verreos displayed a few of his evening gowns (shielded from touch behind a velvet rope) and autographed and posed for photos. I skipped the long meet-and-greet line and focused on the olive tapenade instead.
With Verreos’ upcoming QVC business deal, I’m sure we will see more of him in general. In DC in particular, I hope we’ll see more lectures and events from figures in the fashion world.
Filed under: Lecture, Museums | 12 Comments