HSPBC Meets The Pink Retreat: The Legacy of Lilly Pulitzer

The Legacy of Lilly Pulitzer

Exclusively showing at our museum
June 8 & 9

Richard & Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum
For six decades, Lilly Pulitzer and her signature fashions have been recognized as the leading symbol of tropical resort wear and the true icon of Palm Beach style. Born Lillian McKim, the designer lived life on her own modern, unconventional terms. She was studying to become a nurse in Appalachia before eloping at the age of 19 with Peter Pulitzer. That union brought Lilly to Palm Beach, where she opened a juice stand on Worth Avenue and designed the first Lilly shift dress.


In the 1960s, Pulitzer had her seamstress create a few patterned cotton shifts to wear while she sold her orange juice. Lilly wanted a dress that would be comfortable, allow her to stay cool, and camouflage juice stains with bright, splashy colors. The results were so popular that Lilly sold them from the stand, single-handedly changing the island’s style by embodying the essence of the exclusive resort lifestyle.


A Lilly shift, flat sandals, and sunglasses became an iconic image once the fashionable Jacqueline Kennedy was spotted wearing the look in Palm Beach. The brand and legacy of Lilly Pulitzer-Rousseau have become the symbol of a carefree life in a sunny place—and one of Palm Beach’s true treasures.
The exhibition Endless Summer: Palm Beach Resort Wear, will use images from the archive’s photographic collection including from famed society photographers Bert and Richard Morgan and Samuel R. Quincey. These images capture resort fashion worn by Palm Beach society families, European royals, and significant pop culture icons. 
The special exhibit [ENDLESS SUMMER: PALM BEACH RESORT WEAR] examines how the charm of a Palm Beach lifestyle attracts and influences not only its residents, but the most fashionable winter guests. From the effortless wardrobes of Anthony’s, Bonwit Teller, and salon owner Martha Phillips, to Philip Hulitar, Scassi, Lilly Pulitzer, and Emilio Pucci, Palm Beach’s unique environment significantly shaped resort wear and continues to attract those chasing the sun.

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Jun 08 - 09 2023


10:00 am - 3:00 pm


Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum
300 N. Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, FL
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