'Queen of Prep' Fashion Designer Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau Was a Unique Dame

Illustration for article titled Queen of Prep Fashion Designer Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau Was a Unique Dame

As reported earlier today, Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau died Sunday morning. She was 81.


From her Facebook page:

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.


Pulitzer Rosseau's story is unique; as the young wife of wealthy Peter Pulitzer (her first husband, and grandson of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer), her depression led to the hobby of selling homemade orange juice on the side of the road in Palm Beach. She designed comfortable floral outfits (colorful enough to conceal juice stains!) to wear while selling her juice, and ladies wanted to purchase the shirt off her back. She used her money and connections — Jackie Kennedy was a former classmate — to create a brand of pricey kooky resort wear that perfectly encapsulated Pulitzer Rousseau's time and lifestyle.

As for her personal life, she divorced Peter Pulitzer in 1969, and married Enrique Rousseau the same year. Rousseau died from cancer in 1993, and she never married again. She leaves behind three children from her first marriage, and several grandchildren.

"Style isn't just about what you wear, it's about how you live," Ms. Pulitzer said in 2004. "We focus on the best, fun and happy things, and people want that. Being happy never goes out of style."



[New York Times]

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Sea Anemone

I grew up in Miami in the 70's and 80's, and I never heard of this woman and don't recognize her designs. I wonder if her designs were very local to Palm Beach? They do look very Florida-y.