Tribute to Stephen Yearick
I founded Nolte’s Bridal 42 years ago. I have carried the collection of the famous designer, Stephen Yearick, for nearly as long.
As Betty White (99), an American icon, left us on December 31, she was preceded on December 22 by an icon in the fashion world: Stephen Yearick (72).
It merits a “sit a bit with a glass of wine and read” of a tribute to his talent. (I’m not one who believes the world is addicted to only Tik Toks. Though admittedly I find them hysterical.)
In each orbit there is that pioneer. As Vera Wang, led the march for “plain” bridal dresses; Stephen Yearick, was the forerunner for “embellished.”
He started with evening gowns that were, per media, “walking chandeliers.” For all of of us that love glitter at Christmas, fabulous jewelry, Waterford crystal and the sparkle of a clean car…Stephen Yearick created patterns of bugle beads and Swarovski crystals that has yet to be matched.
He has dressed 33 Miss America’s and as a former director in that scholarship pageant (the largest fund to young women in the U.S. and as the father of three daughters) that is very important to me.
As a gown stylist, I also dressed dozens of contestants in his gowns both in Columbia and Overland Park. (Sidebar: Totally reflective moment, I designed gowns, with him, for two consecutive Miss America’s. How did that happen?!)
I was thrilled when he expanded to “bridal!”
To wear “a Yearick” was the equivalent of driving a Tesla or owning a Rolex. If ever there was a line I would volunteer to rep it would be this one.
Was he “aloof?” Oh Lord help us, “Yes!” (Back when being “NY aloof” added to acting “on trend.”) However, we always cut through it. Nolte’s Bridal became the company’s fifth largest account.
Just as CoCo Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Givenchy, Vera Wang, Halston, Valentino, and many other pinnacle designers sold their names, so did Stephen. And just like the above mentioned, the standards of excellence continued, as pride from the new owners and reps was a trickle down.
On a personal level I will share just a few glimpses of my relationship with this company.
Of all the design manufacturers I could have chosen for ball gowns for Mrs. Nolte, this was the company I chose. For two KC families, I even arranged in showroom visits for them.
Here are some Yearick gowns in the Nolte family:
Justine’s bridal portrait
Hero’s and Angels purple ballgown
Barbie’s BOTAR gown (with our now son-in-law)
Snow Ball, Kansas City
Barbie’s 40th Anniversary
New Year's Eve, Vienna Ball
Barbie's Mother-of-the-Bride Gown
There are so many black-tie evening gowns, Ball Chairmen, MOB gowns, Jewel Ball Debutante gowns and bridal gowns that have been worn by my Kansas City clients and I invite you to share both pictures of your gowns and your memories of that experience.
I’m, of course, delighted with the success of the merger of Nolte’s Bridal and The One Bridal and am so happy that we carry both the evening gown and the bridal gown collections inspired by this marvelous man. (Stephen you made every woman in your gowns feel beyond amazing!)
His son, Shawn Yearick, is also a designer. Attached is a picture of the front doors of Stephen’s home in South Carolina after his passing on December 22. Shawn changed the ribbons and wreaths to black. So fitting.