Nearly 60 Years Ago, a Socialite Dressed Her Friends Like Peacocks and Altered Fashion History

Lilly Pulitzer's simple shift finds favor beyond country clubbers

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As a New Yorker transplanted from Texas, Sarah Bray has resigned herself to a fact of fashion life here: You wear black. Everyone does, the joke goes, though the joke is largely true. But when Bray leaves the city to visit her sorority sisters from Southern Methodist University, or heads down to Palm Beach, Fla., the dictates of dress change radically. Out goes the black, and in comes the lime green, the peach, the coral and the turquoise.

In other words, on goes the Lilly Pulitzer.

The Secret: Because making a knockoff Lilly dress isn’t especially difficult, the brand hides a tiny “Lilly” signature somewhere in the pattern on each dress.


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This story first appeared in the June 5, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.