Yesterday the sad news broke that Lilly Pulitzer passed away. She was 81. Her style was timeless.
No doubt the biggest loss is to her family. However, on a wider scale her death is also loss for many preps and those who like preppy style. The dresses she created more than 50 years ago have gone on to become emblematic of a subculture and lifestyle cherished by many yet unknown to so many others. Lilly’s was a slightly different blend than most. Her vibrant pastel whirls and patterns are still unrivaled; even in their occasional absurdity which only adds to their character. Long after she ceased to have full control of the company the dresses look strikingly like those she first made. Something that very few brands can claim. And all the better the brand is for it. Few brands can claim to have the type of dedicated following that the brand has. It all started with Lilly.
The brand and it’s styles are held in such high regard that internally and affectionately, we refer to her and her brand only as Lilly, but when speaking with those who are unenlightened we have to catch ourselves and use her full name.
Over the past two years I have not completely shyed away from talking of my favor of the brand. Most notably represented by the suspenders I had made of Lilly fabric. I have however, kept things in moderation. In full disclosure, a few years back I amassed what is certainly one of the largest collections of men’s Lilly clothing; jackets, shirts, pocket squares, underwear, bathing suits, ties and pants. It still saddens me that the brand killed off the men’s line in 2009 or 2010. I have thought and will continue to think that they should bring back the men’s line for a third time. As you can imagine, I have my thoughts on how they should do so.
I was conversing with a close friend and fellow Lilly lover last night and we proposed having a Lilly Pulitzer parade in her honor, obviously all the participants will be wearing Lilly. Sadly, I am not sure how feasible that is. As an alternative, I plan to honor Lilly and her legacy by wearing Lilly every day this week (check out FYGblog Tumblr if you care to see the ensembles). For those of you who share my enthusiasm, if you decide to do the same (and I encourage you to do so), know that you will not be alone.
Justin L Jeffers