All About the Lilly: WWD Runs Lilly Pulitzer Special Edition

TP is in heaven. Truly.

The editorial brains minds over at Women’s Wear Daily have dedicated an entire special issue of the paper to Lilly Pulitzer’s 50th.  (You may remember in today’s post on the Inaugural gowns that we mentioned WWD was doing some fabulous special issues… this is another one of those special editions.)

WWD "Lilly Pulitzer at Fifty"


For those less familiar with the Lilly Pulitzer brand, it was started in 1958 by Lilly Pulitzer….

Lilly Pulitzer at home in Palm Beach

Lilly Pulitzer at home in Palm Beach

… rapidly becoming very successful into the early 1980’s. And then – horrors!  The line ceased operating in 1984 and all hope was lost for true Lilly lovers. Life began anew in 1994 when Scott Beaumont and James Bradbeer Jr. (seen below) decided to buy the company and bring the storied line back to life.

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

And it gets better moving forward: the company plans to grow the brand through the addition of a stationery and gift line. How fabulous is this news?!

Courtesy Lifeguard Press

Courtesy Lifeguard Press

The collection will be licensed by Lifeguard Press, the folks who handle the Vera Bradley paper line.  According to the WWD story the new paper group will include a variety of items:

“…. party goods and gifts, from wrapping paper and bags to partyware, cocktail napkins and drink umbrellas, office accessories like desk sets, diaries, notebooks, frames and calendars…”

The paper line is on track to launch in January. If you would like to be on the mailing list for updates on the line and other announcements, just click here to be taken to the Lifeguard Press site.

There is a quick mention of the sleepwear line, licensed by Carole Hochman:

Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

As well as an intriguing look at the design process.  Have you ever wondered just how the company continues to come up with such smashing colors and designs? Here is an inspiration board from Lilly headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

Below, members of the Lilly Design Team experiment with color.

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

TP is absolutely transfixed by the pink and green chairs even though they are almost impossible to see in the photo.  Perhaps they are easier to see in this shot of the atrium at the Lilly Mother Ship:

Talaya Centeno for WWD

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno for WWD

One of the dynamite stories in the special issue features quotes from some of fashion’s brightest talents on the brand and its founder.  Here is a sampling accompanied by fun photos of Lilly back in the 1970’s.  We start with Ralph Lauren‘s comments:

“Lilly Pulitzer created a very distinct look — her personal style of bright colors and prints has an important place in fashion.”

Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

Courtesy Lilly Pulitzer

And this from Kate Spade….

“Lilly Pulitzer was one of the first to take a personal look and lifestyle and turn it into a brand. Her cheery and colorful prints are much imitated, but she is a true original.”

As well as Isaac Mizrahi

“Lilly Pulitzer is one of the few designers worthy of copying. You can’t be an American designer without a little nod to Lilly.”

Reed Krakoff (the Grand Poohbah at Coach) has memories similar to those you probably have:

“One of my earliest memories of fashion is my mom wearing a lime green printed shift dress at our country club in Weston, Connecticut. Lilly Pulitzer was a summer uniform and always defined summer style.”

Howell Conant/Timepix

Lilly's Original Shop (PHOTO: Howell Conant/Timepix)

Our favorite quote is probably this one from Jonathan Adler:

“Lilly Pulitzer makes everyone look happier, richer and more fun-loving than they probably are. Lilly equals sunshine.”

TP has never been to the Mother Ship in Pennsylvania:

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

Nor have we visited the Lilly store at King of Prussia mall, practically in the backyard of Lilly HQ:

Talaya Centeno

PHOTO: Talaya Centeno

Remember the 50th Anniversary Lilly Pulitzer Jeep we showed previously? Well, here at the Prepatorium we  periodically queried the Princess Consort, asking if he thought anyone was ordering up the Special Edition vehicle. (Of course, he loves queries of this nature in all their profundity and thought-provoking significance.)



It turns out people *have* been buying the Limited Edition Jeep:

“About 70 of the Jeeps were preordered and, at $25,000 a pop, some of the Signature store owners will not only be driving one, but they are also able to sell them to their customers.”

Still to come? A Florida’s Natural orange juice carton done in one of the signature Pulitzer prints. An altogether remarkable story, quintessentially American with its ups and downs, and its happy ending for the company’s founder. Although she no longer owns the company, Lilly is still on hand as a consultant; her design influence and imprint can be seen everywhere.

The WWD special edition was written primarily by Julie Naughton with contributions from Dianne M Pogoda, and they did a bang-up job IOHO.


Filed under preppy

18 responses to “All About the Lilly: WWD Runs Lilly Pulitzer Special Edition

  1. *Love* the shifts for my Peanut! And her favorite sandals are Lilly sandals…

  2. Loooooove the Jeep! Do you think all my carseats would fit?

  3. Amelia

    Speaking of Lilly Sleepwear, I was just at Belk (Dept. Store in the South… at least I have never seen them North of WV) and they had a lot of their Lilly PJs 50% off!

  4. Joanne

    Can this issue be purchased without a subscription? I would love a couple copies….. Do you know if it is available at Borders? Thanks jo

  5. Hello from Michigan…. I don’t know if it can be ordered in bulk or not. If you want to talk with the folks at WWD, the phone # is 1-800-289-0273. I think you can do something like a one-day subscription if you wanted to look at it all online and then print what you were looking for…

    Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by the blog!

  6. Preppy 101

    I would love to see that article !!

  7. My mother and I had matching Lily Pulitzer dresses when I was a little weasel. I love her prints but they don’t work on me.

  8. Wow, I really like these fabrics! The colors are gorgeous! Her original shop looks like I place I would like to go now.

  9. TCP

    Nothing like a spot of Lilly to warm up a freeeeezing Chicago day!

  10. enc

    I’ve loved Lilly for a long time! The prints are always cute, and I never tire of them.

    (I’ve gotten behind in my blog-reading, so I’ll just start again right here.)

  11. Oh yes, me too. Thank you, thank you…This article is heavenly and the graphics and placement of these images are food for the soul in the midst of all of this woeful financial and daylight savings time noir. Lilly is an artist along the lines of Matisse, who asks us to look up from the drossy and mundane and play!

  12. That’s the coolest post on Lilly that I’ve read on a blog. Thanks!

  13. About the previous post: wrong name left on screen! Sorry. Since you’re moderating comments, here is the proper one:-

  14. That’s the coolest post on Lilly that I’ve read on a blog. Thanks!

  15. Great post TP!!! Applause from me! I did not know that Lily almost ceased to be in the 80s. So glad the brand is back and huge.

  16. There are so many exciting things in store for the Lilly brand! I can’t wait! I just got a call today that my Jubilee dress came in. I am so excited to pick it up.

    The orange juice containers are just going to be precious. When I went to the Jubilee trunk show, the Lilly ladies told me that the stationary was adorable. I can’t wait to see it in person!

  17. Wow — I can’t wait to get a hold of all the new stuff!!

  18. Thanks for posting this article! I just saw it myself!

    Did you wonder about the necklace that Lilly herself is wearing? It is from Meg Carter Designs (check out It’s the “Kennebunk”.

    I happen to be Meg Carter. Love your blog – so thrilled to discover you!

    all the best,


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