Some women brood on their dullness like Chekhov characters staring out windows. What's interesting about Lilly Pulitzer is that she confesses it cheerfully and by so doing persuades us that it might not be true. The case for it can be made, however—she was never known for working the fashion shows with a chrome-steel attitude or swanning around with Paris couturiers. Winter and summer, she liked being in Palm Beach, Fla., where her clothing was a sort of folk art of the very rich, summer clothes for a world where, as she said, ""it's always summer somewhere.""
Now, at 80, a Palm Beach homebody, she is the subject of a short, airy biography by Kathryn Livingston, ""Lilly: Palm Beach, Tropical Glamour, and the Birth of a Fashion Legend.""
To my surprise, I learned that I kind of like her. Surprise because I grew up with my nose pressed to the window of Lilly Land, but I was looking out, not in, seeking freedom from Connecticut cocktail hours, rich people complaining that they were broke (""totally stoners""), mixed doubles in tennis, and porch parties where women wore hair pulled back as tight as the silk on Christmas-tree balls. Once in a while a man would wear a necktie as a belt, a Brooks Brothers buccaneer. (Wall Street Journal, December 2012)
Born into a legendary family surrounded by wealth and privilege, Lilly Pulitzer is an iconoclast who has become a fashion icon. Lilly's trademark colorful shift dresses defined high-society casual chic in the 1960s, and her brand continues to delight and enchant a whole new generation of women today. With Lilly, set against the glittering background of Palm Beach, Kathryn Livingston presents the first biography of this fascinating, complex, remarkable woman.
Always one to opt for the unconventional, Lilly dropped out of college after one semester to become a nurse's aide in Appalachia, then eloped with publishing heir Peter Pulitzer at age twenty and moved full-time to Palm Beach, one of America's most notorious enclaves for the very rich. Peter worked in the orange-growing industry, and Lilly began her career by setting up a fruit juice stand on the famously upscale Worth Avenue. Lilly started designing and wearing simple, colorful dresses to provide comfort while she worked under the hot Florida sun. The exuberant patterns of her shifts, known as Lillys, soon caught the attention of her wealthy patrons. Lillys became the Palm Beach snob uniform and were quickly adopted by her neighbors and socialite customers from all over who wintered in Palm Beach. After Lilly's former schoolmate First Lady Jackie Kennedy was photographed with her family wearing a Lilly in Hyannis Port, seemingly every woman in America wanted to have one.
Lilly Pulitzer is an intensely private person, and her often tumultuous personal life has been touched by more than its share of tragedy and scandal. Lilly examines in depth the many struggles Lilly has endured in her life. Lilly and Peter seemed to be the picture of domestic bliss but Peter's infidelities (revealed during the divorce from his second wife, Roxanne) and constant traveling tore Lilly and Peter apart. After her divorce, Lilly found new love with her second husband, Enrique, a patrician Cuban-American, and they enjoyed several years of happiness, but he died too soon.
Lilly is the story of a devoted mother who worked hard and created a thriving business at a time when most mothers, especially wealthy ones, didn't work. It is a story about exceptional luxury, love, betrayal, despair, and triumph. Featuring rare photos that reveal the guarded world of Lilly Pulitzer and her family and friends, Lilly combines a richly textured true tale of fashion magic and business success with a riveting tour of the lifestyles of the richest and most celebrated people in the spectacular resort known as Palm Beach. Lilly is a uniquely American story.See all Editorial Reviews
Interesting info about Lilly Pulitzer. A little confusing at times when describing all the family relations on both sides of the family.Published 1 month ago by Elementary School Teacher
Very well written! Really gives you insight as to who she was! You feel like you now know who she really was and how everything began and the fact that she was a real person like... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan Mathis Ccox
The cover of the book makes you want to run out and buy it. However, except for all the black and white photographs which
were great, the rest of the book is just ok. Read more
If you love Lilly and and are interested in her Palm Beach life, this is an enjoyable & interesting book to read.Published 7 months ago by Robin Bourassa
My granddaughter has recently been employed by Lilly, so this was a special little Christmas gift for her. She loved it. I thought it was OK.Published 7 months ago by Little old lady