Obituary: Lilly Pulitzer’s Death Leaves Void Unfillable Except by Flowers and Pink Pants

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Sorority girls, grandmothers, and Kennedys everywhere are mourning the loss of iconic fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, who died last week at age 81. The “Queen of Prep” had such a widespread cultural impact that it can be difficult to imagine a world without her.

How else could housewives somewhat justifiably spend $118 on scarves? What would eighth grade girls in Connecticut wear to their middle school graduations? And where would the modern world be without the creation of prints such as “Lazy and Hazy,” “Reef Madness,” and “Spike the Punch?”

Her trademark bright colors are so important because they send a message. It allows people to look “fun” and “casual” but still imply they spent a shit-ton of money doing it. Lilly, as we affectionately call her, just made suburban lives that much easier. All of the true preps can identify each other if the men are in salmon (not coral, because there’s a difference) pants and the women in regurgitated neon flowers.

Forget Vineyard Vines’ whales or Ralph’s polo player; Lilly even made individual prints for major sororities so sorostitutes could compete to be the most sorotastic. Because if you don’t have the wristlet and the iPhone cover, it’s basically like you’re not in a sorority at all. If that doesn’t demonstrate good business sense, what would?

Lilly will leave behind a legacy because she brought out everyone’s inner sorority girl, suburban housewife, or Jackie O. She taught us that looking fabulous while running a juice stand is definitely not overrated, socialites can make money, and that anything can be Lilly-fied, even wine glasses, New York City, or your Jeep, so you can cruise around Martha’s Vineyard in style.

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