Thursday, August 18, 2011


In the late 1950s Lilly Pulitzer opened a juice stand in Palm Beach.  Legend has it that the juice stained her clothes, so she had some cotton block-printed and started making shifts to wear while working at the stand.  The trend caught on and the "Lilly" dress was born.  In 1959 Mrs. Pulitzer officially founded the clothing company; in 1984 it all ended because Lilly stopped "having fun".  Good for her.  Go out on a high note.
In 1993 a company called Sugartown, Ltd. wanted to revive the Brand, and that they did with Mrs. P herself at the helm of creativity.  Personally I was thrilled when new Lilly appeared in Vero Beach at one of those stuffy little beach shops on Ocean Drive.  I bought a skirt: pink and green with butterflies on it and the signature cotton lace decorating the edge.  It was a little frumpy, so I had it shortened. The company stuck to it and the Brand boomed in resort towns all over the East Coast.  I already had a nice collection of vintage Lilly going, and to that I added the new pieces.  Proper patchwork skirts that were stitched together like the good ol' days; wraps that were reversible. 
But then something happened.  They wore out their welcome getting "too big" and "too accessible".  That is not something that flies with that original Lilly crowd.  The patchworks even went downhill and were printed fabrics instead of sewn patches! When I saw that violation at Angela Moore in Newport it was the beginning of the end.  I have not bought any Lilly since.  In fact, I have a large box full of my 60s-70s Lilly and my 1993-2000 Lilly that lies in wait. 
I didn't even consider Lilly again until recently.  A few years ago Jane Schoenborn of Buzz by Jane Fox, a defunct and quirkly little accessories Brand, took over accessories at Lilly.  Jane is now Senior Designer.  Snaps to Jane S. because Lilly P. is looking a whole lot better these days.  She has really expanded the line and made it less saccharin.  Check out the palatable and relevant-to-most-of-our-lifestyles line yourself on their website.  In closing, I will share my favorite piece from their line (below). It's probably not something you want wear while squeezing oranges.

As a designer there's no requirement that you be all cashmere and cord in Fall.  This piece is from Lilly Pulitzer's Fall Collection.  The Eryn Dress. Please note it is striped.  At least I am consistent.
p.s. not a fan of the footwear choice case Jane is listening...

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