Lillian Lee Pulitzer Rousseau (McKim) (1931 - 2013) MP

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Birthplace: Roslyn, NY, USA
Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:
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About Lillian Lee Pulitzer Rousseau (McKim)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Pulitzer

Lillian Pulitzer Rousseau (born Lillian Lee McKim on November 10, 1931), better known as Lilly Pulitzer, is a socialite and prominent fashion designer. She is known for founding Lilly Pulitzer, Inc., which produces clothing and other wares featuring bright, colorful prints. Because the brand has been very popular with high society, Lilly has been called the "Queen of Prep".

Personal life

Lillian Lee McKim, nicknamed Lilly, was born to socialites Robert V. McKim and Lillian McKim (née Bostwick) in Roslyn, New York on November 10, 1931. She was the middle child, with older sister Mary Maude (called Memsey) and younger sister Florence Fitch (Flossie). Her mother, Lillian, was an heir to the Standard Oil fortune. Lillian divorced Robert and married Ogden Phipps in 1937.

Lilly attended the Chapin School in New York City, along with Bouvier sister Jacqueline Lee. In 1949, she graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. She attended the college-finishing school Finch College in New York City, but left after one semester to work as a midwife's assistant in West Virginia and as a volunteer at the Veterans Hospital in The Bronx.

In 1950, she eloped with Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of publisher Joseph Pulitzer. In 1969, Lilly and Peter were divorced. She married Enrique Rousseau shortly thereafter. Although she legally changed her name to Lillian Rousseau, her clothing company continued to operate under the "Lilly Pulitzer" label. Lilly continued to reside in Palm Beach. Enrique died from cancer in 1993.

Lilly has three children from her marriage to Peter: Peter, Minnie, and Liza. Peter lives in Bridgehampton, New York, with his wife, Elise, and five children: Fiona, Caleb, Stefan, Aaron, and Daniella.

Liza currently lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, with her three children: Waverly, Hattie and Rayna. Liza is currently helping out in Florida with the Lilly Pullitzer Brand, and part of a real estate firm. Liza is infamous due to her husaband, Phillip Bloom had an affair with another women, and later committing suicide.

"Minnie" lives in EastHamptons,New York with her 2 children Taylor and Annah. Minnie's real name is Lillian just like her mother and she produced a line dubbed "Mommy and Minnie" featuring maternity and children clothes.

Business

Lilly and Peter settled in Palm Beach, Florida, shortly after their marriage. Peter owned several Florida citrus groves, and with produce from the groves Lilly opened a juice stand on Via Mizner, just off Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

In the course of working at the juice stand, Lilly found that squeezing juice made a mess of her clothes. Seeking to camouflage the juice stains, she designed a sleeveless shift dress made of bright, colorful printed cotton. Lilly found that customers loved her dress, so she produced more in order to sell them at her juice stand. Eventually, she was selling more dresses than juice, and decided to focus on designing and selling what had become known as her "Lillys".

In 1959, Lilly became president of her own company, Lilly Pulitzer, Inc. The company's main factory was located in Miami, Florida and the fabrics were produced by the Key West Hand Print Fabrics company in Key West.

From the 1960s to the early 1980s, Lilly's bright, colorful clothes were very popular, worn by elites such as First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her daughter Caroline, and members of the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Whitney families. However, by 1984 Lilly felt she was not having as much fun as she used to and retired, closing down her entire clothing operation.

Revival of the brand

In 1993, the rights to the brand were purchased by Sugartown Worldwide, Inc. They contacted Lilly with the hopes of reviving the brand because, "they just loved Lilly, their mothers and sisters loved Lilly, and they wanted to bring the line back," according to Lilly herself. Lilly is not involved in the day to day administration of the company, but she continues to serve in the role of creative consultant, approving new designs, fabrics, and collections, and branching out into other product lines.

Today, the company maintains 75 Lilly Pulitzer Signature Stores (also known as Via Stores), several company-owned retail stores, sells to independently owned stores and is in major department stores such as Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. On December 21, 2010, Sugartown Worldwide, Inc. was purchased by Oxford Industries, Inc.

Products

Along with women's clothing, the company also produces men's clothing, children's clothing, maternity clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, bedding (revived in 2010), and stationery. The company launched an exclusive Bridal Collection in 2010.

Lilly Pulitzer has published a pair of lifestyle books—Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining and Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Holidays—with her friend, author Jay Mulvaney, showcasing the "barefoot elegance" that characterizes her entertaining style. She has also released two desk calendar books, Essentially Lilly 2005 Social Butterfly Engagement Calendar and Essentially Lilly 2006 Party Animal Engagement Calendar.

Lilly Pulitzer has been known to make special collections with sorority prints on them, among them Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, and Delta Zeta. She has held contests on her Facebook page to vote on which sororities will get their own prints. As of May 4, 2011, Lilly has chosen five sororities to have the newest prints: Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Alpha Delta Pi.

Cultural impact

Lisa Birnbach's tongue-in-cheek "guides", The Official Preppy Handbook and its sequel True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World, feature Lilly Pulitzer clothing as must-have items for "preppy" women.

The Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History in Boynton Beach, Florida, ran an exhibit from August 2010 through May 2011 about the clothing and designs of Lilly Pulitzer. Museum director Lori Durante stated "Lilly Pulitzer fashion is relative to the American experience ... It is relevant to Palm Beach County, to Florida."

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