The Elite In Bare Feet

A Palm Springs Twist

What do wealthy privileged women do when they are bored? Admittedly, I don’t know because, although I have had had plenty of experience with the third (boredom, that is), I am certainly not an expert on being the first two: wealthy and privileged.

But if anyone’s up to offering me work experience, I am more than happy to rise to the challenge to become an expert on the first two!

Wealthy and privileged - I am happy to sign up for some experience!

Wealthy and privileged – I am happy to sign up for some experience!

On a more serious note, though, I have been invited to a party with the theme A Palm Springs Twist and dug deep into the archives of my mind for inspiration.

Bridge over Tallebudgera Creek in the north of the suburb, Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland

Bridge over Tallebudgera Creek in the north of the suburb, Palm Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland. Photo in public domain.

There are a number of “Palm Beaches”, the closest to me, geographically, is on the Gold Coast (Queensland), but there’s also one along the stretch of the northern beaches of Sydney (New South Wales), and one is the easternmost town in Florida (USA).

A view of Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Lighthouse, New South Wales

A view of Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Lighthouse, New South Wales. Photo in public domain.

All spectacular beaches but,in terms of wealth, Palm Beach in Florida wins hands down. It is the third wealthiest city in the US and home to 24 billionaires.

View of part of the lake bikeway along the Lake Worth lagoon (Intracoastal Waterway) in the Town of Palm Beach, Florida

View of part of the lake bikeway along the Lake Worth lagoon (Intracoastal Waterway) in the Town of Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Christopher Ziemnowicz in public domain.

Life in this playground for the rich and famous includes owning a palatial Greco-Roman mansion on the shoreline, driving a Bentley or Porsche to cruise down the wide avenues downtown, where the streets are clean enough to eat off. But, of course, you wouldn’t be doing that – you would be supping at charity balls or partaking in wine-soaked three-hour lunches – that is when you were not shopping!

Worth Avenue Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Worth Avenue Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Photo in public domain.

Too much of a good thing? Maybe… well, this was the case for Lilly Pulitzer – yes she married the prize (the grandson of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who gifted the Pulitzer Prize to Columbia University).

Lilly Pulitzer was known as the "Princess of Preppy"!

Lilly Pulitzer was known as the “Princess of Preppy”!

Lucky Lilly Pulitzer (nee McKim) was to the manor born on Long Island. She attended Chapin and Miss Porter’s School, alongside Jacqueline Bouvier (who became Kennedy, then Onassis).

Jacqueline Kennedy in  Lilly Pulitzer's designs

Jacqueline Kennedy in Lilly Pulitzer’s designs.

In 1952 she met Herbert (who renamed himself “Pete”) Pulitzer, Jr on vacation in Palm Springs – they eloped, and Lilly stayed in Palm Springs.

Lilly seemed to think most things were possible with sunshine and a bit of pink!

Lilly seemed to think most things were possible with sunshine and a bit of pink!

Life was a merry-go-round of cocktail and other parties at her lavish Palm Beach estate where she was the hostess.

Lilly Pulitzer was always ready for a party!

Lilly Pulitzer was always ready for a party!

Lilly kept the atmosphere relaxed, and the phrase “the elite with bare feet” was born.

The beautiful people - "the elite with bare feet"!

The beautiful people – “the elite with bare feet”!

But pretty soon, it became clear to Lilly that she needed to lead a more purposeful life, so in her early 30s, she opened a juice stand. This was in 1959, and the world had not yet heard of kale and other green pressed juices, so orange and grapefruit were the flavours of the day (home-grown, of course, on Pete’s citrus groves).

Lilly Pulitzer in her colourful and quirky shop

Lilly Pulitzer in her colourful and quirky shop.

Much to Lilly’s despair, most of her frocks were ruined by citrus stains – but this spilt juice literally parlayed her into the world of fashion.

The Lilly Putlizer frock came into being. At first, she sold her inexpensive cotton shifts to friends, which then grew to friends of friends. The important distinction about these frocks was that they were not made to go to work in – these were clothes for the weekend or leisure activities.

Some more classic Lilly Pulitzer designs

Some more classic Lilly Pulitzer designs.

Photo courtesy pixshark.com

Price wasn’t a barrier to owning a Lilly Pulitzer – they were relatively inexpensive, and it was refinement, social circle, and access to that circle.

The social set that enjoy the leisured lifestyle

The social set that enjoy the leisured lifestyle.

As the allure of these brightly patterned dresses spread, the “circle” of places you could buy them remained exclusive, in well-heeled locales including Bermuda, Lake Placid, and Nantucket. The manufacture and production of Lilly Pulitzer clothing remained in Florida.

Lilly Pulitzer is the perfect resort wear

Lilly Pulitzer is the perfect resort wear.

True to its original “target” market, when Lilly’s early customers’ daughters and granddaughters went to college, they packed their Lilly dresses (which were not too bare, not too sexy, but in colours that made a summer tan pop) to wear to sorority rushes, formals and other black-tie parties – the prefect Preppy attire.

Lilly Pultizer - the perfect preppy attire

Lilly Pultizer – the perfect Preppy attire.

It all sort of harked back to that Palm Beach era when certain dress codes were in place – jackets, but not necessarily ties, for gents after 5:00pm, and ladies in skirts or dresses.

Lilly Pulitzer clothes are perfect for Palm Beach cocktails

Lilly Pulitzer clothes are perfect for Palm Beach cocktails.

But like everything, the Lilly Pulitzer brand evolved and, after Lilly’s retirement in 1984, the business moved in different directions, expanding both its product range and point-of-sale outlets.

The Lily Pulizter range is just as joyful as ever but available to a wider audience now.

The Lily Pulizter range is just as joyful as ever but available to a wider audience now.

On the 19th of April 2015, like other design giants (Missoni, et al), a Lilly Pulitzer Collection for Target (USA) was debuted.

The Lilly Pulitzer range for Target USA was an unprecedented success!

The Lilly Pulitzer range for Target USA was an unprecedented success!

There have been some fashionistas who are not happy that the masses now have access to Lilly Pulitzer through Target because it is a ‘heritage’ brand, which suggests the advantage of birth. The clothes conjure up visions of old family trees, summer compounds, and boarding schools.

These colourful Lilly Pulitzer scarves are now available to many!

These colourful Lilly Pulitzer scarves are now available to many!

They believe that Lilly Pulizter represents something money cannot buy, which is part of the clothing range’s charm. They are not meant to be stylish – that’s so nouveau – they are for the members of the country club, those who are part of the one percent.

A rather cryptic quote from Lilly Pulitzer: "Style isn't about what you wear, it is about how you live" - take whatever you like from this

A rather cryptic quote from Lilly Pulitzer: “Style isn’t about what you wear, it is about how you live” – take whatever you like from this.

From what I know about Lilly Pulitzer, she had a tremendous sense of joie de vivre, and I don’t think she would begrudge anyone form enjoying her designs. I rather hope that she is looking down on this fracas and is siding with the Twitterati who tweeted  “Wow, people are genuinely upset about Lilly Pulitzer for Target. Oh no, how will rich, white girls spot each other in a crowd?”

Time to join the Lilly Pulitzer party!

Time to join the Lilly Pulitzer party!

Target USA is a separate company to Target in Australia (which doesn’t have a Lilly Pulitzer range). You can browse the official Lilly Pultizer website but unfortunately they don’t ship internationally, so for the time being, it’s only eye candy!

Want to learn more about Lilly Pulitzer?

I know I do, and am going to look out for Kathryn Livingston’s book Lilly – Palm Beach, Tropical Glamour, and the Birth of a Fashion Legend.

"Lilly" - another book to add to my reading list

“Lilly” – another book to add to my reading list.

What’s my Palm Springs Twist?

Here’s my inspiration:

I just love the colours and whimsy of this drawing!

I just love the colours and whimsy of this drawing!

And, here’s an idealised sketch of what I might look like if I could buy and wear a Lilly Pulitzer to the party!

My idealised self is looking pretty good, don't you think?

My idealised self is looking pretty good, don’t you think?

Photo courtesy http://www.pinterest.com

And, I’ll let Lilly Pulitzer have the last words (and images)!

Life's a party - dress like it!

Life’s a party – dress like it!

Photo courtesy http://www.pinterest.com

I feel happy looking at this combination of colours by Lilly Pulitzer

I feel happy looking at this combination of colours by Lilly Pulitzer.

Photo courtesy http://www.pinterest.com

This quote rather says it all, doesn't it?

This quote rather says it all, doesn’t it?

Photo courtesy http://www.loveoflifequotes.com

Are these happy people part of the one percent or ring-ins from the masses? Who cares - they are having a party!

Are these happy people part of the one percent or ring-ins from the masses? Who cares – they are having a party!

Photo courtesy blog.lillypulitzer.com

A young Lilly Pulizter (left) and friend show us how to rock "the elite in bare feet" look!

A young Lilly Pulizter (left) and friend show us how to rock “the elite in bare feet” look!

Photo courtesy pixgood.com

A charming retrospective of Lilly Pulitzer

A charming retrospective of Lilly Pulitzer.

Photo courtesy galleryhip.com

 

2 Comments on The Elite In Bare Feet

  1. Housewife in Heels
    May 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm (2 years ago)

    Love a party with a theme. Enjoy! Enjoyed learning about Lilly (pretty name- will suggest to my sister for baby naming :)). Love all the colour, although it will not ‘pop’ well against my pasty skin.

    Reply
  2. the hipsterette
    May 28, 2015 at 7:24 am (2 years ago)

    I like Lilly as a name as weil – many spell it with one “l” Lily. It was my late mother’s middle name Lilja – the “j” is silent. Will look forward to hearing about your sister’s baby it must be soon – best wishes for a short and safe delivery!

    Reply

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