Lilly Pulitzer, a Palm Beach socialite turned fashion designer whose tropical print dresses became a sensation in the 1960s and later a fashion classic, died Sunday. She was 81.
Her death was confirmed by Gale Schiffman of Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services in West Palm Beach. She did not know Pulitzer's cause of death.
Pulitzer, who married into the famous newspaper family, got her start in fashion by spilling orange juice on her clothes. A rich housewife with time to spare and a husband who owned orange groves, she opened a juice stand in 1959 and asked her seamstress to make dresses in colorful prints that would camouflage fruit stains.
The dresses hung on a pipe behind her juice stand and soon outsold her drinks. The company's dresses, developed with the help of partner Laura Robbins, a former fashion editor, soon caught on.
"Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her," according to a statement on the Lilly Pulitzer brand Facebook page.