Fashion Maven Lilly Pulitzer Has Died

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 7 2013 1:19 PM

Fashion Maven Lilly Pulitzer Has Died

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Designer Lilly Pulitzer (R) walks down the runway at the Lilly Pulitzer Couture Spring 2005 fashion show on September 12, 2004 in New York City.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The fashion designer Lillian Bostwick Phipps Pulitzer Rousseau, better known as Lilly Pulitzer, died on Sunday at her home in Palm Beach, Florida. She was 81.

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Mrs. Rousseau is best known for founding the Lilly Pulitzer fashion company in 1959, after designing colorful, printed shifts to wear at her fresh juice stand in Via Mizner.

Since then, Rousseau's bold-print garments have become a staple of debutante fashion.

Rousseau, née McKim, attended boarding school with Jacqueline Bouvier, and her designs became famous in 1962 when Bouvier, now first lady Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of LIFE Magazine wearing a Lilly Pulitzer shift dress.

This W Magazine profile from 2008 celebrating Rousseau's 50 years in the industry described her affection for summertime fashion:

Told by one retailer that she had to start making fall clothes, Rousseau replied, "Oh, but you don’t understand, it’s always summer somewhere."

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Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.