By Betsy Rothstein - 01/19/09 06:36 PM EST
Nick Verreos, who appeared on “Project Runway’s” second season, gave a fashion preview to the press Saturday afternoon at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Northwest Washington. During the hourlong preview, he had models on hand to display his first lady-inspired gowns.
No. 7 was Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he said needs to rid herself of her pantsuits and wear a floor-length gown that flatters her physique.
“This is a gown that can be worn by women with different figures, women who are bottom heavy,” he said. The Clinton-inspired gown is long, flowing and sleeveless and is made of blue chiffon silk up top and celadon green flowing to the floor below the waistline. Pinned at the heart is a vintage Swarovski crystal.
More than once, Verreos remarked that the gown would perfectly suit Clinton’s frame and make her comfortable.
Verreos stressed that he really wanted to “make over Hillary Clinton as a feminine, elegant woman.”
When designing this inspired look, he said people asked him, “Are you doing a pantsuit gown?”
Verreos joked that he had to slap himself on the wrist three times and keep telling himself, “No, you are not doing a pantsuit!”
For Michelle Obama, the incoming first lady, the answer was long and red and strapless. “Hellooo, Michelle,” Verreos said as the model walked out onto the faux runway stage in a basement room of the hotel. The dress, he said, is a silk wool.
“I love the fact that she chooses different types of designers,” he said. “She doesn’t go with the old guard. She loves Maria Pinto and Narciso Rodriguez.”
The designer says Michelle Obama’s look says: “I am the new first lady in town.”
In the mix were dresses Verreos made with Martha Washington, Dolly Madison, Mary Todd Lincoln and Louisa Adams in mind. “A lot of times I think you are going to see the connection, but with the older, historical ones you may not,” said Verreos, asking his audience to “suspend your belief.”
For Laura Bush’s simple, champagne-colored dress and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, whose dress inspiration was long, ivory and strapless, they weren’t so hard to imagine.
The cost of the dresses shown ranges from $4,000 to $12,000.
It’s “a gown that, trust me, you will remember for the rest of your life,” Verreos said.