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The Project Runway Blog

Uncle Nicky Talks Episode 11 Dirt!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Oct. 30, 2009 ,5:11 am EDT

Read Season 2 alumnus Nick Verreos' take on judging for the first time, which designer he wouldn't want to design for him, what he's wearing to Heidi Klum's Halloween party and more!

By Rachel Cohen

So what was it like when you walked onto the set to judge?

I was thinking to myself, Should I put my instructor cap on and treat this like a mid-term or final exam with my students at FIDM? and also how I still wanted to be nice Uncle Nicky while judging. Most of all, I was aware that I’d been there and knew the designers’ pain, so I didn’t want to be critical for the sake of being mean; I wanted to be constructive.

Did the designers welcome you with open arms?

They jumped up and down, and were clapping. So I started jumping up and down! Instantly, I realized I had to simmer down, because in about an hour I may be wrecking them with my judging and one of them might want to slap me!

Were you comfy sitting between Heidi and Nina?

I was nervous sitting next to Nina. I’d feel comfortable giving Heidi high fives or having margaritas with her. Nina, not so much. It’s a different camaraderie with her. She has a certain demeanor, which did pile the nervous pressure on me to behave.

What was one thing that happened during judging that didn’t make it into the episode?

There was lot of discussion about Gordana's design. I thought her model looked like a secretary working at the Kremlin ... pushing secret papers in the old Soviet Union. Heidi added that it did remind her of her own country. We got into this whole East Germany–versus–West Germany sensibility in fashion and how this was the opposite look of the Oktoberfest girl [Epperson's design in a previous episode].

What about the hoopla regarding copying between Irina and Althea?

It's funny to watch Irina's bitchy commentary and the rivalry between her and everyone else. I didn't know any of that when I was the first one to say Althea's sweater looked like Irina's design. I was explaining how this happened in my classes at FIDM when Irina shot Althea a look and then [Althea] shot her one back. I guess I was "pot-stirring Uncle Nicky" when I asked about the similarities.

How was your fellow guest judge, Kerry Washington?

Amazing! She really wanted to spend time discussing each design. She wasn't just an actress showing up to promote her line. She really got involved in the deliberations. For example, she wasn't so negative about Gordana's design. She was like, "Look at me, I'm wearing an '80s jacket."

Any other big debates?

Yes — Carol Hannah's cocktail dress versus Althea's sweater and pants. Althea's design was more modern and looked more like the future of American sportswear, which is why she won. It's funny that there is a history with rewarding sportswear versus gowns and dresses. People associate American designers with sportswear, like Bill Blass and Calvin Klein. I'm a gown designer too, yet I found myself in judging rewarding the sportswear over the cocktail dress!

What is something that really surprised you during the show?

How dark and somber the colors were from the designers. At one point, I turned to Nina and said, "Has it been like this?" and she told me off the cuff, "Yes, we’re trying to get them to step it up." I know at this point in the competition, you are tired, very tired! Your creative and emotional self and your brain need a rest. I wanted these designs to make my hair stand up, but I did keep that in mind when looking at colors like gray ... which don’t excite me.

Which designer from Season 6 would you want to design for you?

Logan. It’s funny that I had a hand in taking him out, yet I’d choose him. I see him and want to look like him ... OK, I know I can’t look like him, but I want the look of his skinny jeans and accessories.

Which designer wouldn't you want to design for you?

Be sure to include in the interview that I paused here and that I'm nice Uncle Nicky. But I'd have to say Christopher. I'm just afraid he’'d design a big poofy dress for me, and I'm not a big-poofy-dress person.

Were you torn at all about who to send home? Any regrets?

No. Logan is such a sweetheart, but he should be doing female, androgynous versions of himself for his fashion. He should be the next Alexander Wang or Rick Owens. His stuff should be moody, hipster and androgynous, and he'd be the most modern fierce bitch! I don't see him doing Judy Jetson zipper dresses.

Would you ever do an all-star challenge?

If I could cast it with my friends and people I’d like to be around, like Chloe Dao, Daniel Vosovic and Jay McCarroll — people I could invite over for dinner, versus people who would make me want to lock up my Gucci belt.

How is it teaching at FIDM, where "Project Runway" Season 6 was shot?

I love giving back and helping students. I can be helping an actress with a fitting for a red-carpet dress and three hours later going to class to tell my students about it. It may not be in the curriculum, but I can offer a real-world take. FIDM is a wonderful institution with a great archive. For example, one day I can go in and show the students Dior gowns from 1957 ... where else can you do that?

How’s your collection coming along?

Slowly but surely, since I’ve been busy with so many other things. I just signed a deal with MSN's The Victory Project Sponsored by Special K, to travel the country helping to meet with women who have gone through transformations and help them look fabulous. I also shot a show for the Style Network, to be a fashion expert on a show called “What I Hate About Me.”

I hear you have Heidi's Halloween party coming up too?

Yes, I'm working the red carpet for it, and I'm going as Gayladdin! You know, the first time I met Seal, I said "Nice to meet you," and he said, "Your zipper is down!" Let me tell you, there are no zippers on the harem pants for my costume! It's elastic, and I just slip them up, honey! I'll show you pictures for Lifetime's site when I get 'em!