The Juicy Backstory of Lilly Pulitzer’s Designs

Lilly Pulitzer, 1961 - Palm Beach, Florida: Getty Images

Lilly Pulitzer, 1961 – Palm Beach, Florida: Getty Images

The story behind the fashion is the most interesting. And it seems there is always a story. This one is juicy – literally! I recently read that Lilly Pulitzer’s original designs were a means of covering up juice stains! Lilly Pulitzer was a New York socialite who eloped with Peter Pulitzer and moved to Palm Beach, Florida, full-time (which was unheard of in her social circles at the time). The story goes that Pulitzer opened a juice stand in Palm Beach – from the fruits of her husband’s citrus groves. But when stains from the fruit found their way on to her clothes she designed a cotton sleeveless shift dress splashed with bright colors – pinks, yellows, greens, and oranges – to disguise the messy stains! The original dresses in her collection were called “Lillys” and their simplicity and style grew so popular that they became the go-to uniform for resort-goers, socialites, and celebrities. One especially famous friend and former schoolmate, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, was often seen wearing Lilly Pulitzer’s colorful sheaths. Eventually, Lilly Pulitzer opened stores up and down the East Coast. And the rest … as they say … is history.

The original rollout of the Lilly Pulitzer Collection, circa 1960

The original rollout of the Lilly Pulitzer Collection, circa 1960: Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

 

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Lilly Pulitzer Targets Spring 2015

Photo: Instagram

Photo: Instagram #LillyforTarget

I admit it: I’m a Target-designer junkie. I have purchased some of my favorite fashionable treasures from these coveted designer collaborations (for the sheer joy of owning high style at great prices). Refinery29 has revealed that this spring Target will launch its latest collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer. This collab will be more like the highly successful partnership with Target and Missoni, including fashion, accessories, beauty, and home decor. In fact, Lilly Pulitzer’s collaboration with Target will include “250 pieces of apparel, accessories, beauty, and home decor, and range from $2 to $150 (with nearly 200 items under $30),” says Refinery29.

Perhaps best of all; for the first time, this collaboration will include plus sizes, which is long overdue and much-appreciated. When the collection arrives at Target stores on April 19th, I’m sure that Lilly Pulitzer, who passed away just a few years ago, will be smiling. The founder and fashion designer favored bright colors (especially pink!) and vibrant prints that screamed springtime. I’m also sure that I’ll be buying it!

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