Famed fashion designer and lover of prints, Lilly Pulitzer, passed away today at the age of 81. While the cause of death has not yet been confirmed, the industry is already missing the socialite's enchanting joie de vivre.
The Palm Beach-based designer began her career making printed dresses as a means to disguise orange juice stains — a genius move in our book – and soon gained popularity in the '60s for her cheery, eclectic designs. As the story goes, according to the New York Times, the pivotal movement was when Jackie Kennedy Onassis, a former classmate of Pulitzer's, wore one of the Florida designer's shift dresses in a magazine. It was a move that helped launch the Lilly Pulitzer brand into a huge success and placed the prints on the map. The line later expanded into a men's, children's, and home collection, as well.
Pulitzer married twice: First to Pete Pulitzer, and later to Enrique Rousseau, who passed away nearly 30 years ago — the same year she retired from her namesake label. While it was certainly Pulitzer's colorful, lively patterns that became synonymous with her name, she will also be fondly remembered for her life-affirming attitude. And, as a woman whose genius thinking turned a simple household solution into an entire business success, she'll also continue to stand as an inspiration that big, beautiful ideas can come from even the smallest
stains places. (New York Times)