Palm Beach-based designer Lilly Pulitzer passed away Sunday at the age of 81. She was famous for her dazzling, clashing tropical prints that combined fluorescent hues with pastels, beloved by preppy socialites and vacationers around the world.
The designer (whose first husband was Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of famous publisher Joseph Pulitzer) initially began making dresses in 1959, after opening a juice stand and needing clothes that could easily camouflage fruit stains. Soon, her designs—then priced at just $22!—outsold her beverages, and a new business was born. Society icons like Jacqueline Kennedy (a former classmate of Pulitzer’s) and C.Z. Guest were just a few of her high-profile clients. “I designed collections around whatever struck my fancy…fruits, vegetables, politics or peacocks,” Ms. Pulitzer told The Associated Press in 2009. “It was a total change of life for me, but it made people happy.”
Pulitzer continued designing her collection until 1984, at which point her company was forced to seek bankruptcy protection. But a licensing deal revived the label in the early 1990s, and today, Lilly Pulitzer has annual net sales of over $100 million.
Click through to shop some Lilly Pulitzer dresses, swimwear and separates marked by the designer’s famously eye-popping prints and resort-ready silhouettes. Lilly, you’ll be much missed.
Photo via WWD
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