Though I have never been drawn to the Lilly Pulitzer prints for my own personal wear, I do have a great admiration for women who have made their own business successful with hard work and motivation. Like Barbara Bradley Baekgaard of Vera Bradley, Lilly Pulitzer has made her prints a selling point, reaching women who want a certain kind of look, whether playful and flirty or overtly feminine. From her initial market, the wealthy beach goer to the women who purchase her look presently, there is a specific market that Lilly and her peers have hit successfully. This is something that I admire wholeheartedly.
“Lilly the lady was so much more than Lilly the label,” Steven Stolman, a designer who consulted on a retrospective of Ms. Pulitzer’s work in 2008 at Parsons the New School for Design, said on Sunday. “In reality, her persona was far more colorful than the clothes. In so many aspects, she was a very reluctant fashion icon.”*
Reluctant fashion icon or not, it was a sad day when the world lost this self made fashion designer. I think that we will have a conversation about Lilly in our Couture Design class this coming Thursday, not because she was a couture designer but because we will no doubt talk about how she made her business one that we can only hope to emulate. The main goal of us being in the fashion design program is to bring our designs to market and to eventually be successful. LP's model might be unorthodox but then, there are probably more artists than we know that have an unorthodox story.
*Additional information via The NY Times