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Lilly Pulitzer Dead: Fashion Designer Dies At 81

Sun, April 7, 2013 2:41pm EDT by Add first Comment
Lilly Pulitzer Dead

How sad. The fashion designer who defined a generation with her tropical print dresses passed away on Apr. 7 at the age of 81.

Lilly Pulitzer, the designer who brightened up the fashion world with her print dresses, died in West Palm Beach, Fla. at the age of 81.

Lilly Pulitzer — Iconic Fashion Designer Dead At 81

Lilly’s story from socialite to fashion icon is truly an amazing one. After opening a juice stand in 1959, Lilly asked her seamstress to make her dresses that could hide the juice stains. Not long after, Lilly began selling the dresses instead of the juice.

The jungle and floral prints of blues, pinks, light greens embodied Florida lifestyle and soon became all the rage. Jacqueline Kennedy famously wore a Lilly dress in a spread for Life magazine.

Lilly later expanded her clothing line from just dresses to swimwear, menswear, and a home collection. “Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you live,” Lilly said in 2004. “We focus on the best, fun and happy things, and people want that. Being happy never goes out of style.” Lilly retired from day-to-day operations in 1993, though she remained on as a consultant for the brand.

Lilly Pulitzer Dies At 81: Company Releases Statement

The company’s Facebook page released a statement on their founder’s death:

Early this morning, Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau passed away peacefully in Palm Beach, surrounded by family and loved ones. Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her.

In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us. Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world.

She will always be remembered for her vibrant personality and fashion sense, and her amazingly positive attitude. “I loved seeing (the dresses) going out the door,” she told Vanity Fair in 2003. “I loved them selling in the shop. I liked them on the body. Everything. There’s no explaining the fun I had.”

Besides being a fashion designer, it’s no surprise that Lilly also wrote two guidebooks about entertaining.

“That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight,” she said.

We’ll throw one in your memory, Lilly.


— Andrew Gruttadaro

More Deaths In Fashion:

  1. BREAKING NEWS: Alexander McQueen Dies at 40 — Reports Say It Was A Suicide
  2. Interior Designer & Fashion Icon Andrée Putman Dead At 87
  3. Vidal Sassoon: Dead At 84