Lilly Pulitzer Dies: Fashion Icon Leaves a Legacy Of Colorful Prints That Define the Spring Collection

As we start out April with a beautiful 70 degrees, we mourn the loss of infamous fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer and the iconic legacy she left behind her. She passes away April 7th from unknown complications at the age of 81, leaving behind her family and partner in practice Laura Robbins. 

The Lilly Pulitzer Facebook page reminisces, "In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us. Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world." And Indeed, Lilly’s inspiration for her bold and colorful prints has paved the way for many of today’s spring trends coming out later this month.

Inspired by the orange grove stand she ran as a bored housewife in in 1959, the signature Lilly Pulitzer prints features jungle-themed patterns such as zebra stripes and leopard spots, alloyed with Florida-inspired palm trees and orange blossoms. This combination of color with ferocity is just coming back in style now.

In Chanel’s 2013 spring collection, there featured cropped pants and jackets with a clean cut contrasted with vibrant Aztec prints in colors similar to Pulitzer’s of light greens, yellows, and oranges. In Prada and Holly Fulton’s summer 2013 showcase, 3D flowers in bloom accented plaid skirts and neutral colored t-shirts. Saint Laurent’s debut featured zebra-print shawls and animal print button-ups, commonly found in everyday wear stores now like Forever21 and Charlotte Russe for the less heavy-pocketed.

Pulitzer’s death may not have come as a surprise in her old age, but the fact that her fashion sense is springing back up with the new season is not. Always a proponent of showing her true colors, she was never afraid to be bold in her statements, fashion and otherwise, "I designed collections around whatever struck my fancy ... fruits, vegetables, politics, or peacocks! I entered in with no business sense. It was a total change of life for me, but it made people happy.” Pulitzer’s presence on the runway will be sorely missed, but we continue to honor her one bright splash at a time this spring. 

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Emily Harris

Emily Harris is a current student at Barnard College completing her third year in an English degree with a Sociology minor. Emily was born in New Jersey, raised in a half-serbian household who taught her a love for the fine arts and the importance of exploring culture and travel. Through these early experiences, Emily grew to love global literature and journalism, and has written for various publications with her working degree including Inside New York, Ideasmyth and HerCampus. She also served as the third member on Barnard’s Poetry Slam team for two years in 2010-2012, where she performed at the National College Competition (CUPSI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and in La Verne, California. Her other internships include working for MUSE Film & Television on the nationally acclaimed and sundance-award winning documentary Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry as a post-production assistant to documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman. Emily is currently continuing her work in the editorial and publications field, while still holding onto her love for her Serbian roots, Poetry Slam, and filmmaking.

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