Lilly Pulitzer


Rest in Peace, Lilly Pulitzer!

This iconic socialite saw her place in the fashion industry during her juice stand days. Little did anyone know, spilling orange juice on her pretty little dresses became the spark that changed the way women in Palm Beach, and eventually nationwide, dressed. In efforts to camouflage these juice stains, she had her seamstress make shift dresses in bright, colorful patterns. These dresses hung on a line behind her stand, eventually out-selling the juice. The fruit stand, then turned into a boutique!

The Lilly, as the dress came to be known, was based off the simple Home Ec dresses that every girl first learned to sew; a sleeveless and semi-fitted sheath. When Jackie Kennedy, who attended boarding school with Lilly, was seen in a Lilly Pulitzer dress in a Life magazine photo spread, every girl nationwide wanted one of their own. The prints became iconic and seen all over. Academic institutions, events, and social phenomenons including the Ive League, Bicentennial, Greek Life, and many more all have prints in their honor.

Eventually expanding her empire, men and women alike would show up to country clubs and cocktail events in full Lilly attire. From Bermuda to Southampton, men's Party Pants became a phenomenon. Later expanding further to include swimsuits, children's clothing, and a home collection.

Her Southampton Lilly shop proudly wrapped their sold dresses in clear plastic bags tied with a ribbon for the world to see your Lilly selection. Because each print is so unique and personal, they stated that "it's like carrying your own racing colors or flying a yacht flag for identification."

This morning, Sunday, April 7, 2013, she has passed away at 81 years young "surrounded by her family and loved ones," says The Lilly Pulitzer Facebook Page. Although the reason is unknown at this time, her health has  been failing over the past few weeks.

Personally, she is an idol of mine. I haven't always known her name, but I have always known her style; as it's impacted many of the brands that I love most today. Her view on life is such an incredible outlook to have as she truly captures the American Dream (or my American Dream) with every step she took. She never veered away from what worked for her most, her barefoot summery style, as she famously reported, "it's always summer somewhere." Lilly Pulitzer is not just a brand, but a lifestyle. The more people who see the world like Lilly did, the better the world will be! She makes me want to live in Palm Beach and host Lilly Pulitzer inspired parties barefoot on the beach, with our toes in the sand and mocktails in our hands. You're all invited!

“Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you live,” -Ms. Pulitzer, 2004

For more inspiration, you can watch a celebration of 50 years of Lilly here.