A colourful life: A tribute to Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau from the brand Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau

RIP LILLY PULITZER: I was so sorry to hear about the passing today of Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau (1931-2013), socialite-turned-designer of the fabulous Lilly Pulitzer brand.

Lilly Pulitzer store

 

Her bright, colourful floral prints and ladylike frocks have always put a smile on my face.

 

Early Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau designs

 

Lillian “Lilly” McKim was born to socialites Robert McKim and Lillian Bostwick McKim (later Phipps), a Standard Oil heiress via her grandfather, Jabez A. Bostwick, who was one of John D. Rockefeller’s founding partners in the Standard Oil Company.

 

Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau with beehive

 

She had two sisters, Mary Maude and Florence Fitch. When her mother later married Ogden Phipps, she gained two half-siblings, Ogden Mills and Cynthia.

 

Lilly Pulitzer in Palm Beach circa 1955

 

The “Queen of Prep” was a school friend of Jacqueline Bouvier (later Kennedy Onassis) and Lee Bouvier (later Radziwill) at the Chapin School in New York, and was friends with many other famous folk such as the Vanderbilts and Whitneys throughout her life. She graduated from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut in 1949.

 

Jacqueline Kennedy in Lilly Pulitzer dress

 

She married twice: Herbert “Peter” Pulitzer, Jr. (1950-1969; divorced), grandson of publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and Enrique Rousseau (1969-1993; his death).

 

Lilly Pulitzer with husband Peter in 1963 - Life Magazine

 

According to Wikipedia, the business took off shortly after her marriage to Peter Pulitzer and they moved to Palm Beach, Florida:

Peter owned several Florida citrus orange groves, and with produce from the groves Lilly opened a juice stand on Via Mizner, just off Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

In the course of working at the juice stand, Lilly found that squeezing juice made a mess of her clothes. Seeking to camouflage the juice stains, she designed a sleeveless shift dress made of bright, colorful printed cotton. Lilly found that customers loved her dress, so she produced more in order to sell them at her juice stand. Eventually, she was selling more dresses than juice, and decided to focus on designing and selling what had become known as her “Lillys”.

In 1959, she became president of her own company, Lilly Pulitzer, Inc. The company’s main factory was located in Miami, Florida and the fabrics were produced by the Key West Hand Print Fabrics company in Key West.

 

Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau with children in yellow

 

She had three children with Peter Pulitzer: Peter, Minnie, and Liza.

 

Younger Lilly Pulitzer on a boat

 

After two decades of providing frockage for “high society” especially the Palm Beach set, the brand closed in 1984, only to be revived in 1993 by Sugartown Worldwide on the premise that  “they just loved Lilly, their mothers and sisters loved Lilly, and they wanted to bring the line back.”

 

Palm Beach style

 

The brand has gone onto worldwide success, venturing into various products including clothes, jewelry, stationery, bridal, homewares and furniture products, across 75 signature stores as well as being stocked by major department stores.

Sugartown Worldwide was purchased by Oxford Industries in 2010.

 

Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau in later life

 

She died at her Palm Beach, Florida home at the age of 81 in 2013. My condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

 

Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau

 

 

Here is a little look back at the work of this remarkable lady through her life, and her fashion and home decor collections…

 

lilly home - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer campaign photo - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer As Good As Gold Sandals Gold Metallic - Womens Sandals.jpgFlower Arrangements from The Martha Stewart Show - Lilly Pulitzer Flower Arrangement.jpgJuice-Stand-shower-curtain - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau and Dominick Dunne.jpgGirls Lilly Pulitzer True Glam Metallic-Striped Dress Pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer -traditional-day-beds-and-chaises.jpgLilly Pulitzer Boardwalk Triangle Bikini Top.jpgFashion-Designer-Lilly-Pulitzer-mdn.jpgkennedys in lilly p - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Charlene Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer  prints on wall - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Buttercup Shorts - floral.jpg Lilly Pulitzer Floral Print - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer - Wink Eau De Parfum Spray.jpgGirls Lilly Pulitzer Spring Fling Little Lilly Dress.jpgLilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau on the runway.jpgLilly Pulitzer Darcy Dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer -contemporary-rugs - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau store.jpgcourtney-cox-wearing-lilly-pulitzer.jpegLilly Pulitzer Home - available through Horchow - boulevard-barstool.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls black striped Little Helena Sweaterdress.jpgLilly Pulitzer Boardwalk Bikini Bar String Top.jpgLilly Pulitzer  shop - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Freya Crinkle Cotton Top - navy.jpgLilly Pulitzer Helena Sweater Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls Little Lilly Classic Shift - Sizes 7-14.jpgLilly Pulitzer Harwin Dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Joslin Dress blue and white striped.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home aster-desk.jpgkristen-davis-wearing-lilly-pulitzer - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpegLilly Pulitzer Helene Lace Dress - turquoise.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home Chair - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau - headshot.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls red Little Linney Dress - Sizes 2-5.jpgElisabeth Hasselbeck in Lilly Pulitzer.jpgLilly Pulitzer Darla Top - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpeglilly pulitzer eryn dress lemon sorbet wrapping stripe.jpgLilly Pulitzer Freya Crinkle Cotton Top - white.jpgLilly Pulitzer livingroom - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls Little Lilly Classic Shift Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home - aster-rolling-desk-cabinet.jpgLilly Pulitzer Meg Swimsuit Coverup Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home - Canna Vanity Chair.jpgLilly Pulitzer Lifeguard Press Spring 2012.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home - JCoralie Vanity Stool.jpgLilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf - turquoise pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home - Shoreline Tote - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer inspiration tufted.pngLilly Pulitzer iphone4 chum bucket no packaging.jpgLilly Pulitzer Jessie Stripe Sweater - black white pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer print dress - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpegLilly Pulitzer Kat Kitten Heel Shoes - Nude Patent - Womens Shoes.jpglilly pulitzer prints - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Mini McKim Tod Pre Sandals Gold Metallic - Kids Sandals.jpglilly pulitzer print Pop-Goes-The-Floral.gifLilly Pulitzer Moxy Top - pink coral - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Resort Wedge Scallop Sandals Passion Pink Suede - Womens Sandals.jpgLilly Pulitzer Murfee - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Nikola Dress - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Open Toe Slingback Wedges - Floral Print.jpgLilly Pulitzer Paula Sweater Dress - white.jpgLilly Pulitzer Peachie Bandeau Bikini Top.jpgLilly Pulitzer Summer Cover - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Pearl Dress - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Worth Printed Straight Jeans.jpgLilly Pulitzer Resort Chic Glitter We Sandals Gold Glitter - Womens Sandals.jpgLilly Pulitzer Sandi String O Bottom - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Resort Chic Wedge Peep Sandals Garden Floral Multi - Womens Sandals.jpgLilly Pulitzer resort white mini gardens by the sea.jpgLilly Pulitzer Ripley Split Neck Tunic Cover Up.jpgLilly Pulitzer Rousseau - older.jpgLilly Pulitzer Rylan Dress - pink.jpgLilly-Pulitzer-for-Lee-Jofa-Fabrics.jpgLilly Pulitzer Sophie Strappy Wedge Shoes Gold Metallic Leather - Womens Shoes.jpgLilly Pulitzer Sparkle Tote - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgpulitzer-lee-jofa-prints - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly-Pulitzer-iPhone-4-Case-Sorority-Alpha-Delta-Pi.gifLilly Pulitzer Thong Sandals - Mckim Flat.jpgKennedys and Lilly Pulitzer - via myLusciousLife.com.jpglilly-pulitzer-philadelphia-ardmore.jpglilly pulitzer toile eliot - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgHome Collection Lilly-Pulitzer.jpgLilly Pulitzer traditional-benche - Luscious Life decor fashion blogs.jpgLilly Pulitzer Walsh Shorts - white.jpglilly_pulitzer_garnet_hill_spring_2010.jpglilly_seamus dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer - Luscious Life decor fashion blog4.jpglilly-pulitzer-bat - via myLusciousLife.com.jpglilly-pulitzer-furniture-dovecote-decor 2.jpglilly-pulitzer-garnet-hill - via myLusciousLife.com.jpglilly-pulitzer-home-collection sofa - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.pngLilly-Pulitzer-Shower-Curtain - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLILLY-PULITZER-SPRING-2007 - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgWendy Vanderbilt and a friend wearing their Lilly shift dresses in 1964.jpgLilly Pulitzer blue lace dress with yellow.jpg1962 photo of a woman in a bespoke Lilly silk dress.jpgLilly - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly McKim Pulitzer dresses - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer  ad campaign - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer  barbara_dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer colourful prints.jpgLilly Pulitzer  blue bedroom.jpgLilly Pulitzer  print bedroom - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer - lilly leaf it to me pillow.jpgLilly Pulitzer Aaliyah Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer Alfa Swim Coverup Top - Resort White Party Hopper.jpgLilly Pulitzer Arina Dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Beautiful-shower-curtain.jpgLilly Pulitzer bedroom home decor.jpgLilly Pulitzer bedroom print.jpgLilly Pulitzer Bloomfield Sweater Dress - turquoise.jpgLilly Pulitzer Boardwalk Bikini Top.jpgLilly Pulitzer Boston Silk Top pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer by the water ad campaign.jpgLilly Pulitzer Callista Dress stripe.jpglilly pulitzer fabric - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.pngLilly Pulitzer Cassie Dress - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Cassie Dress - teal and pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer HCH5LES - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Charlene Dress - red stripe.jpgLilly Pulitzer content_LPHOME.jpgLilly Pulitzer Ginny Shift Dress.jpgLilly Pulitzer couch - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Darleena Toile Dress - green and white.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home - Johanna Upholstered Armchair.jpgLilly Pulitzer Doreen Dress - pink and white.jpgLilly Pulitzer Lauren Puffer Down Vest.jpgLilly Pulitzer dresses in green.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home rowan-bench-lilly-pulitzer-furniture.jpgLilly Pulitzer dresses on the catwalk.jpgLilly Pulitzer Elsa Top - blue.jpglilly pulitzer fabric collection.pngLilly Pulitzer Fleur Dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLILLY PULITZER FURNITURE.jpgLilly Pulitzer Poppy Lace Top - turquoise.jpgLilly Pulitzer print - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Middleton Palazzo Pants - blue print.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls Little Lilly Classic Shift floral coloured print.jpgLilly Pulitzer print6 - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Girls_Sumner_Raspberry.jpegLilly Pulitzer Home Aqua Bed - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer print orange - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Home aster-writing-desk - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Hooded Tunic Swim Coverup - blue.jpgLilly Pulitzer McKim Sandal Sandals Flutter Blue Patent - Womens Sandals.jpgLilly Pulitzer lottiehome1_large.jpgLilly Pulitzer Hooded Tunic Swim Coverup.jpgLilly Pulitzer print - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer inspiration - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer living room colourful decor.jpgLilly Pulitzer ojo range the catalina.jpgLilly Pulitzer print5 - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpgLilly Pulitzer Picture Perfect Espadrille Daiquiri Pink.jpgLilly Pulitzer Perla Tie Dress - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer print3 - Luscious Life decor fashion blog.jpglilly-pulitzer - via myLusciousLife.com.jpglilly-pulitzer-blog-post- - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly-Pulitzer-Seamus-Dress.jpegLilly Pulitzer print4.jpgLilly Pulitzer Hyacinth Skirt - black.jpgLilly_Home collection.jpgLilly Pulitzer_Brianna_Havana.jpegLilly Pulitzer Spring 2013- Marta Dress featuring our Lilly 3-D Lace.jpglilly-pulitzer-spring-2012-koozies.jpglilly-lee-jofa - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer Posey Dress - white.jpgLilly-Pulitzer-Home-Petra-sofa.jpgpulitzer - Luscious Life decor fashion blog1.jpglilly_pulitzer_sheets - via myLusciousLife.com.pngLilly Pulitzer yellow dress via etsy.jpgSeagate Arm Chair - Lilly Pulitzer Home By HFI Brands.jpgLilly Pulitzer Sandi String Bikini Bottom.jpglilly pulitzer printLittleLilet-print.jpgretro one piece - www.myLusciousLife.com - sunflower-floral-retro-swimsuit-from LillyPulitzer.com.jpgLilly Pulitzer-Tysons - via myLusciousLife.com.jpgLilly Pulizer Home Pink and White Dining Room.jpgLilly Pulitzer Worth Straight Jeans in Resort White.jpgLilly-Pulitzer-Home-pillows - via myLusciousLife.com.jpglilly-pulitzer-spring-2013-catalog-2.jpglilly-pulitzer-ipad-2-cases-spring-2012.jpgSouthern-wedding-lilly-pulitzer.jpg

 

 

Buy books by and about Lilly:

 

 

Lilly McKim Pulitzer Rousseau store

 

Read more about Lilly via the official Lilly Pulitzer website and a summary from Wikipedia, as well as these tributes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop the Lilly Pulitzer look here:

 

 

and

 

 

 

 

 

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www.myLusciousLife.com

 

 

 

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