On April 7, 2013, fashion icon Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau passed away at age 81 in Palm Beach, Florida. Lilly inspired the famed namesake fashion brand that merged pink and green colors into bursts of floral prints.
From 2011 to 2013, the non-profit Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History presented in Boynton Beach, Florida the exhibit The Queen of Prep: Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau. The anthropological exhibit focused on the family history and origins of the Lilly Pulitzer fashion brand. Collectors from throughout the USA loaned or donated Lilly Pulitzer fashions for the display. The Museum also hosted an 80th birthday brunch for Lilly in November 2011. Click here to view photos. Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau visited the exhibit and with great delight met many of her Lilly fans. Due to popular demand, other museums have requested that MLFH organize a traveling version of The Queen of Prep exhibit.
The Lilly Pulitzer Story
More than fifty years ago, a trend of bright, bold and unique prints in the form of pink monkeys, green elephants and flowers in rainbow colors hit the American fashion scene. It all started when Lilly Pulitzer, a young, New York socialite, opened a juice stand in Palm Beach in the 1950s. The citrus stains that splashed upon her clothing inspired her to create brightly colored designs to help camouflage those stains. These designs ultimately became the unofficial uniform for the affluent, and Lilly’s signature pink and green colors emerged as the symbol of the authentic Palm Beach lifestyle. In 1959, Lilly became president of her own fashion company Lilly Pulitzer, Inc.
Born Lillian McKim in Roslyn, New York in 1931, she married Peter Pulitzer of the famous Pulitzer Prize family in 1952. The family settled in Palm Beach where a free-spirited Lilly Pulitzer operated a juice stand using produce from a citrus grove in Fort Pierce, Florida that was owned by Peter Pulitzer. The juice stand was located in a tiny shop in Via Mizner located right off Worth Avenue in the Town of Palm Beach, FL.
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