The story of the Lilly Pulitzer brand is bound with that of its inimitable founder and of Palm Beach, Florida, itself. Founded in the mid-1800s as the first resort town in the country, Palm Beach was where newlyweds Peter and Lilly Pulitzer settled in the early 1950s to live year-round, which, while an unusual decision at the time, fit with Lilly’s bohemian personality and rule-breaking spirit. The instantly recognizable Lilly Pulitzer brand, now synonymous with resort wear, was created in the late 1950s, when Lilly worked at a stand selling juice from her husband’s orange groves. While Lilly loved the job, it was messy, so she had her dressmaker create brightly printed, comfortable shifts that she could wear during work to mask the fruit stains, a stark contrast in both color and shape to the form-fitting styles of the decade. With this design, Lilly unknowingly invented American resort wear.
Soon, every Palm Beach girl wanted the Lilly dress, and it began selling more than the juice. The trend grew during the vibrant, irreverent sixties, when Jackie Kennedy began wearing Pulitzer’s creations, and thanks to color TV, the world was exploding with vivid hues in perfect parallel with Lilly’s designs. The Lilly became the symbol of cool, chic beach glamour at all the jet set’s favorite spots, as photographed by the legendary Slim Aarons. Today, Lilly Pulitzer celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, and the brand’s designs are as timeless as ever, its hand-painted, custom-color watercolor and acrylic pieces featuring flamingos, sea turtles, shells, monkeys, and countless other beach- and jungle-inspired patterns made to outfit every generation. Each Lilly store is unique, with carefully curated decor that gives it a distinct personality. Lilly Pulitzer is the story of an inimitable brand that has come to define the fashion world’s resort season. For any activity under the sun, life is simply better in Lilly.
In celebration of the brand’s 60th anniversary, Lilly Pulitzer designed four special prints to mark the momentous occasion. The new cloth patterns, created exclusively for the special-edition collection, wrap each book and its slipcase in a rich burst of vibrant color. The Lilly’s Pink Bouquet print is a classic pink and green floral – a signature for the brand – these mesmerizing flowers can be found in many of Lilly’s iconic prints. The second print, Lilly’s Palm Beach Toile, is the culmination of Lilly’s favorite parts of Palm Beach and includes scenes of Worth Avenue, scalloped beach walls, the new Lilly store, and even a pair of ladies walking their fluffy white dogs. The final print in the collection, aptly named Cheek to Cheek, is a close patchwork of motifs from the brand’s Spring 2019 collection. Breaking out of the traditional square framework, these colorful prints dance together in a unique collage that nods to both the brand’s past and future. The standard edition’s Viva La Lilly print masquerades as a floral, but is complete with classic Lilly content including hidden elephants and monkey’s. It’s an ode to Lilly’s fun and irreverent spirit.
Released in February 2019
W 9.8 x L 13 x D 1.4in
Nancy MacDonell is a fashion journalist and historian who has written on fashion, style, and culture for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites and In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool; a co-author of Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Chic; and the author of Assouline’s The Shoe Book, published in 2014.
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