Photos courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer Archive
A 1964 Slim Aarons photo of Palm Beach ladies in their Lillys
Happy. Festive. Sunny. Bold. Totally original. The list goes on when describing signature Lilly prints and what they evoke. There are so many reasons I will always adore Lilly Pulitzer and her creative and resourceful streak. She was a Farmington girl, as my sister Amanda and I both are (after graduation you are called Ancients by one another) , so we feel tremendous pride in her creative flair, and have always loved the designs for their joyous riot of pattern and color. When we were little and wearing our Lilly my sister and I would always say, "Find the Lilly" to each other, which required we squint at the elaborate animal print on our shorts or wrap skirt to find the secretly embedded Lilly spelled out. It was a fun game we loved to play.
Lilly passed away this past weekend, leaving behind the legacy of the tropical printed shift dress. Created out of a need to hide juice stains she got on her clothes from her Orange juice stand, her shirts then shifts came to define how a generation of 1960's Palm Beach women dressed. Soon, the rest of the country caught the tropical fever, too. Once the dress was seen on her Miss Porter's School friend Jackie O in Time Magazine, the dresses were a hit. Sold through her Via Mizner shop in Palm Beach, her clothing and pillows became standard festive attire in resort areas up and down the Eastern seaboard. The togs became de riquer attire in Slim Aarons photographs.
Their sense of fun, pattern play and vivid color mixing recently went through a huge renaissance when the company was acquired out of bankruptcy in the 1990's. That's when the perfect girl took the lead role as head designer, Janie Schoenborn. She has helped steer the brand in exciting new ways with fabrics for Lee Jofa and a preppy collection of furniture, always staying true to the core print-obsessed Lilly fan base. May the future be bright for Lilly to live on.
Lilly lounging at home
Lilly surrounded by a flowery bevy of scarves
Lilly in her abundant garden
Lilly surrounded by her animal print creations
A woman running shoeless across Worth Avenue in the rain in 1965 captured by Slim Aarons
A chair from the Lilly furniture line covered in a bold floral print from Lilly at Lee Jofa
My sister's 40th birthday party recently with a loud lilly pink and green theme
A vintage patchwork wrap, new and vintage solid printed pretty party prints all in a row
a close up of the kaleidoscopic patchwork in action
Parting shot- Ask yourself--
The 1979 poster created by then UVA student now famous comedy writer, Tom Shadyac. Was this you?