A Tribute to the Amazing, Iconic and Business-Savvy Lilly Pulitzer
“Yesterday the world lost a great woman. Her name was Lilly Pulitzer, and she loved the color pink. She also loved cocktail parties, Florida, and sunshine. When you wore one of her dresses, you just felt happy, and so did everyone around you. Lilly Pulitzer was a defining style icon, designer for women, and a business mogul.
Born Lilly McKim on November 10, 1931, to a wealthy family in Roslyn, N.Y., she attended school with Jacqueline Bouvier who would later go on to wear one of her pieces on the cover of Life magazine, putting Pulitzer on the official culture map. We could tell the story that Pulitzer always wanted to be a designer and run a business and had a strategic plan, but that wouldn’t be true. Still, we have much to learn from this amazing woman about pursuing your passion and letting the rest follow.
Pulitzer came up with her first design after spilling orange juice on her dress while living in Florida—a mistake at the time, but one that truly saved her from a life of boredom. Emily Langer of The Washington Post wrote, “She was a well-to-do housewife and mother of three humming along in her comfortable but evidently unsatisfying life in the 1950s when she suffered, unexpectedly, what has been described as a nervous breakdown. A doctor advised her to get a hobby.” …
…Kathryn Livingston, author of the new biography Lilly, told Town & Country, “Lilly Pulitzer was a rebellious young barefoot boho, a rule breaker who liked to walk around the exclusive, perfectly manicured streets of Palm Beach with a pet monkey on her shoulder at the time she started her fashion business. She was so different from the more formal, bejeweled, grand society leaders of America’s reigning resort of the era, like Mrs. Merriwhether Post or Mary Sanford, who glittered at all the glamorous charity events and ruled all the ball committees.”
Fashion didn’t have to be so serious, according to Pulitzer. Pulitzer embraced the girly side of life. She wanted women and men to feel happy when they wore her clothes.
“We focus on the best, fun, and happy things, and people want that. Being happy never goes out of style,” she said. “That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight.”