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Lilly Pulitzer Dies; Designer Was 81

April 8, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau, the iconic fashion designer of the brand that featured her name, died in Palm Beach, Fla., today, according to her company's Facebook page.

She was 81 years old.

"Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her," a statement said. "In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us."

The company added of its founder: "Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world."

Her schoolmate Jacqueline Kennedy, while First Lady of the United States, was photographed wearing one of Pulitzer's dresses and made her a star.

The dress "was made from kitchen curtain material, and people went crazy," Pulitzer said in her book, "Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining."

"They took off like zingo. Everybody loved them, and I went into the dress business."

Her career sprang from her husband Peter's citrus groves, SI reported in 1968.

She opened an orange juice stand in Palm Beach, and designed her own colorful cotton shirts for herself to work in comfortably in the heat and humidity.

Soon, customers wanted to buy her shirts as well as the O.J.

Soon Lilly Pulitzer began a collection of informal dresses, called "Lillys," and then began designing clothes for girls and a men's sportswear line.

Lily McKim took the surname of her first husband, Herbert Pulitzer, and later added the surname of her second husband, Enrique Rousseau, as well.

Both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by three children from her first husband, and the successful Lilly Pulitzer brand continues to this day.


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