We have been busy colouring designs in “Bright Pastels” which appears to be a case of tautology to the uninitiated. After some discussion we figured out that this was clean pastel shades that were then brightened up a touch which recalled the Florida designer Lilly Pulitzer.
Much like Mary Quant, this designer rose to fame in the 1960’s, born in New New State, her mother was the heiress to the “Standard Oil” fortune and the young Lilly went to school Jacqueline Kennedy. Her prints were extraordinary and fun aimed at the new young and fashionable set.
Lilly married Peter Pulitzer, of the Pulitzer prize family, and shortly after settled in Palm Springs , Florida. They owned several orange groves and with the produce from the groves, she opened a fruit juice stand in Palm Beach. She found that squeezing juice made a mess of her clothes and seeking to camouflage the juice stains, she designed a sleeveless shift made of bright, colourful printed cotton. She discovered that her customers loved her dresses, so she produced more to sell at her juice stand. Eventually, she was selling more dresses than juice, and decided to focus on designing and selling what had now become known as her “Lillys”.
In 1959 Lilly founded her own company, Lilly Pulitzer, Inc. with the company’s main factory in Miami. The printed fabrics were produced by the Key West Hand Print Fabrics company. From the 1960s to the early 1980s, Pulitzer’s bright, colourful clothes were very popular, worn by the elite after Jackie Kennedy was featured in Life Magazine in one of Lilly’s famous shifts dresses. The Jacqueline dress is one of Lilly Pulitzer’s most successful styles. By 1984, Lilly closed down the entire clothing operation as interest waned.
In 1993, the rights to the brand were purchased by Sugartown Worldwide, Inc. Pulitzer was not involved in the day-to-day administration of the company, but she continued to serve in the role of creative consultant, approving new designs, fabrics, and collections, and branching out into other product lines. On April 7, 2013, aged 81, Lilly passed away but the company she founded continues with the same bright summery prints, suitable for Florida and following her motto that “It’s always summer somewhere.”
Lilly Pulitzer 2019. All photos thanks to Lilypolitzer.com