Lilly Pulitzer, fashion designer, has died at the age of 81 in her Palm Beach home

Famous for bright, colorful floral prints

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Style icon Lilly Pulitzer has died at 81, according to our news partner The Palm Beach Daily News. She died this morning at her Palm Beach Home.

Pulitzer, who's formal name was Lillian Bostwick Phipps Pulitzer Rousseau, is best known for founding the Lilly Pulitzer fashion company in 1959.

Her clothing and other wares featuring bright, colorful floral prints, has been very popular with high society, especially in Palm Beach, gaining Pulitzer the nickname the "Queen of Prep."

Mrs. Rousseau is survived by her children Liza, Minnie and Peter Pulitzer, and grandchildren.


A statement on her company's Facebook page reads:

"Early this morning, Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau passed away peacefully in Palm Beach, surrounded by family and loved ones. Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her. 

"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."

Her schoolmate Jacqueline Kennedy, while first lady, was photographed wearing one of Pulitzer's dresses -- and made her a star. The dress "was made from kitchen curtain material -- and people went crazy," Pulitzer said in her book, "Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining," excerpted on her company's website. "They took off like zingo. Everybody loved them, and I went into the dress business."

Her career sprang from her husband Peter's citrus groves, Sports Illustrated reported in 1968.

She opened an orange juice stand in Palm Beach, and designed colorful cotton shirts for herself to work in comfortably. Soon, customers wanted to buy her shirts as well as the juice.

She began a collection of informal dresses, called "Lillys," and then began designing clothes for girls and a men's sportswear line.