In Memoriam: Christos Yiannakou of CHRISTOS Bridal
Renowned bridal designer, Christos Yiannakou, passed away on August 1, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. His career in the bridal industry spanned for over forty years.
Christos Yiannakou was born to Yiannakos and Margarita Papakiriakou on April 28, 1930 in the village of Ardana on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. In 1952 at the age of 22, Christos arrived in New York City to pursue his passion for fashion design. With minimal knowledge of English and little money, he applied to the Traphagen School of Design and was accepted because of his unique design talent. While attending Traphagen, he worked as a freelance fashion illustrator. After design school he began his bridal design career at Galina Bridal. His design skills were quickly recognized by the bridal industry and he eventually became the lead designer for Galina Bridal, designing wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses.
Bridal magazines, Brides and Modern Bride, awarded Christos, “Bridal Designer of the Year,” awards during his design career. In 1984, Christos along with his business partner Michael De Cuollo, opened their own bridal design and manufacturing company in New York City, CHRISTOS Inc. The company grew quickly and successfully - Christos’ designs were sold throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, England and Europe. During this time, his designs were sold at Bullocks Wilshire, Frost Bros., I. Magnin, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave, Woodward & Lothrop and numerous other high-end specialty bridal retailers.
CHRISTOS design's were especially known for his use of intricate lace, primarily Alençon, in addition to Guipure, Chantilly and embroidered laces, which became works of art. His bridal gowns were elegant and timeless designs that transitioned from the sixties into the new century.
In 2005, CHRISTOS Inc. was sold to Amsale Aberra L.L.C who continues the Christos tradition of creating elegant, classic Christos designs sold all over the world.
Christos' design talents were only surpassed by his kindness and generosity. His family always came first, especially his nieces and nephews, who were the children he never had. His generosity and beneficence to his family continued throughout his life and enabled his family to gain success in their lives. Christos traveled the world, but his heart was always in the village of Ardana, where he would spend weeks visiting with family and friends from his youth. He commissioned a book to be written about his village life with all proceeds set aside to assist families from Ardana befallen by unfortunate circumstances. He was a man with impeccable taste and style and left his mark on the world as an artist of incomparable talents. As a brother, uncle and friend, there were none better than Christos and he will be missed by many who he touched with his kindness.
Christos is survived by his brothers, Kyriakos and Neofitos Yiannakou who reside in Cyprus, his sister Helen who resides in California and his many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his sister, Eleftheria.
A memorial service will be held in Cyprus and New York City.