Take a trip to Florida and you’re bound to see bright, colorful patterns and fabrics, reminiscent of the sunny climate the state boasts year round. Many of those sunny staples are thanks to Lilly Pulitzer, who moved to Palm Beach in the late 1950s and was inspired by the tropical paradise surrounding her. Her brand is world-famous today, but it all began with Florida fruit.
Lilly started a fruit stand off the famous Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and used fresh oranges from her husband’s family-owned groves. She quickly found that the fruit stand business was messier than expected, and needed a solution to keep from staining her dresses from spilled juice. Rather than a short-term solution, Lilly decided to grab ahold of the opportunity and instead had her dresses made in “spill proof” fabrics featuring bright patterns that would disguise the stain. After that, her fruit stand uniform consisted of brightly colored and patterned shift dresses. Soon, women began wanting their own vibrant dresses more than they wanted Lilly’s fruit concoctions, so she decided to appease the masses. Lilly’s dresses and designs spread across Palm Beach and beyond.
Today, the fashion brand represents the resort lifestyle for women of all ages not only in pretty dresses, but also pants, shirts, purses, swimwear and more – all thanks to a little spilled juice.