I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet. -- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

15 April 2013

A Colorful Life-In Appreciation-Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau

 “Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.”
 Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau (1931-2013)
Lilly Pulitzer was a freespirit.  The Palm Beach socialite loved a party and believed style should be comfortable, easy and above all fun.  She walked barefoot down Worth Avenue and truly embodied what became her namesake style-The Lilly. 

 Can a simple dress change your day-if it is a Lilly it can. 

What's a Lilly?  Well, it couldn't be easier-three holes for arms and to put your head through, two darts, two slits on each side, sewn of simple cotton in the most fun and colorful prints... and you're dressed.  Sure it's a simple shift but in Lilly's hands -it became an icon. 

 "Style isn't just about what you wear, it's about how you live" 
 Slim Aarons photo via
In the late 1950s, Lilly Pulitzer had time on her hands, a wealthy husband who owned citrus groves, and the need to do something with her days, so she opened a juice stand just near Palm Beach's main shopping street.  Lilly soon discovered, however, that all that juice made stains so rather than pop on an apron she popped on what would become her signature dress.

“I didn't set out to be unusual or different. I just wanted to do things my way.”
 Lilly  gave her seamstress some basic cotton fabric with a large fruity print and asked her to whip up something that she could wear easily at the stand to hide all the juice stains.  At the same time her friend Laura Robbins Clark who was helping her came to the stand in a colorful shift as well.  Laura having been in the fashion business had a feeling the two had more than a "great minds think alike" moment-they had a business..  The rest is style history.
Lilly in her first shop on Via Mizner by Howell Conant via

The two designed a collection of happy prints for their easy going shifts and used Key West Handprint Fabrics.  The dresses hung on a basic pipe at the juice stand and quickly began selling faster than the juice. 

 Lilly's classic simple cotton dress was soon seen all over Palm Beach by the ladies who lunch-with and without shoes  -and when Lilly's old school friend Jacqueline Kennedy was seen wearing her Lillys on vacation-everyone wanted a Lilly.

Jackie in a Lilly, 1962 via LIFE

Lilly closed her juice stand and concentrated on her clothing business.  The Lilly prints all came from original artwork, as they do today-full, happy, colorful -inspired by the beach, the sun, the summer and the party.  The Lilly Pulitzer look became synonymous with a preppy socialite look, but Lilly understood that everyone wants that summer vacation spirit wherever and however they can get it.

Rose and Kathleen Kennedy in their Lillys via
  Lilly never played by the rules, she set her own style and her clothes reflected her world.  She said that she "designed collections around whatever struck my fancy ... fruits, vegetables, politics, or peacocks!”  The brand went through some tough years and filed for Chapter 11 in the 1980s but was acquired a decade later with Lilly still putting her stamp of approval on the fabric prints and has returned once again to color our closets and our lives . 

 “Life is a party. Dress like it” -Lilly Pulitzer

 Her designs reflected a way of life and  instantly brought to mind Palm Beach and summers at the Cape.  The simple styles made from whimsical tropical prints in happy vacation colors of pink and green, turquoise and yellow... were expanded in a full apparel line for women, kids and the preppiest of guys. 

 Fashion has come and gone but the Lillys our Moms wore in the 60s are still instantly recognizable as the signature of that once bored socialite- a "...gypsy, living a carefree life of ponies and tennis.”,  who believed that life should be a party and that "it's always summer somewhere."

"Being happy never goes out of style" 
Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau

26 March 2013

Rain or Shine...Look for Me in The Trenches

It may finally be time to zip up and pack away the puffy heavy coats and hats and mittens---fingers crossed!!!  Good riddance!  Just because you stash away the winter gear doesn't mean that the weather cooperatesSo what to wear to top  it all off in the new seasonTie it up in a Trench! 

The Trench Coat was originally designed to be worn by officers during the first world war-in the trenches...totally utilitarian with no eye at that point to fashion. 


  The Trench Coat, however, has since gone on to define fashion and is as iconic and classic as the little black dress. 

Worn by royalty, Hollywood stars, and style legends the Trench evokes thoughts of James Bond or The Spy who came in from the cold, foreign war correspondents, dashing leading men and even rumpled television detectives.  

 Edward R Murrow during WWII via

 Both  Burberry and Aquascutum have bragging rights to the history of the Trench providing a waterproof lined necessity during World War I.  The Trench would endure after both world wars to become an integral part of every proper Englishman's wardrobe and the epitome of British style.

There has always been something a bit mysterious and alluring about the Trench Coat which is probably why Hollywood embraced it -Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffanys, Steve McQueen in Bullitt and then there was Bogie- from the movie screen and Hollywod fame a fashion legend was born.

Suave and debonair...
Frank via

elusive and a bit dangerous ...

 ...and oh yes, very sexy

 The Trench Coat defined a man's style and would soon become the ultimate "Borrowed from the Boys" look.

Garbo and Dietrich via  and via

Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne for Burberry
Bardot via

Beyond a classic and beyond Popcorn Chic the Trench Coat is one of the rare fashion pieces that can claim the term Timeless


embraced and worn by every style icon you can imagine.


So this spring whether or not it drizzles, think London, think Jackie and Audrey and Bardot and Garbo -add some mystery and style with a classic forever trench.  Do it in color...do it in stripes...or dots...

 or just do it Classic, Timeless and Iconic.


For more on the history and style of the trench visit Aquascutum and Burberry and read The Trench Book  and for great buys on the trench visit LLBean  and The Gap.

07 October 2012

Seeing Spots on Sunday

Mark Giff via
 As much as I would have given every shoe I own to have sat in the front row-OK any row-at Paris Fashion Week something about watching the runways in your bunny slippers lets you see the details and the style up close ---and I spied SPOTS ...

Nina Ricci  S/S 2013 via
 Spots dotted the runway in Paris for Spring 2013 in so many collections... Sometimes subtle, peeking through layers or jackets, sometimes bold and often tonal on satins or wispy chiffon, or lace netting coverings-not a good fashion week by the way if you are in the undergarment biz.

Nina Ricci PFW S/S 2013 via
Nina Ricci via
Haider Ackermann via
Dior  S/S 2013 via
Haider Ackermann via Vogue

Nina Ricci via Vogue

Haider Ackermann via
Nina Ricci via
Nina Ricci via
...and of course my favorites-- when pearls became spots/dots on the Chanel runway! 

via Vogue
via Vogue

via Vogue

And all these spot sightings have me thinking of some of my favorite vintage dots--

Mary Jane Russell wearing Dior photographed by Louise Dahl -Wolfe via

Balmain 1987 via


Balenciaga 1952 via

Jerry Schatzberg Carmen Del Orefice, New York 1959 via