The estate of American designer and socialite Lilly Pulitzer will go to auction in West Palm Beach, Fla., in late February. Pulitzer rose to fame in the '60s and '70s through her line of brightly colored tropical print dresses and blouses. Her signature style was born out of necessity when she started a orange juice stand in Palm Beach in her late twenties. The occupational hazards of running a juice stand include some nasty fruit stains, so naturally she designed a pattern meant to camouflage them. Launched in 1959, Pulitzer's label rose to prominence when First lady Jacqueline Kennedy began to wear her designs. Pulitzer passed away in April of last year.
Pulitzer's estate is filled with the kind of colorful whimsy one would expect of the late designer. Lots include items from her home in West Palm Beach, affectionately referred to as "The Jungle." Living up to its title, Pulitzer's home is full of decorative flora and fauna designed to mirror the lush landscape surrounding it. Small animal figurines, including a wooden hen, a terra-cotta cat and a gilt eagle, sit alongside large statues of crocodiles and lions. Besides this diverse sculpted menagerie, bidders will find some large furniture and decorative accent pieces with designs that draw heavily from tropical foliage. Exotic furniture pieces include an Indo-Persian floor screen and a Victorian bamboo and lacquer dressing table, along with various wicker and rattan accoutrements. Finally, interested art collectors will have access to Pulitzer's expansive collection. It prominently features sunny still life paintings, brightly colored figurative portraits and exotic architectural landscapes.
The Pulitzer legacy
Lilly Pulitzer was well-known not only for her success in fashion, but also for her geniality as a hostess. She enjoyed throwing large parties and opening her home to friends and family for long nights of conversation and dancing. A socialite through and through, Pulitzer was born to an oil heiress in New York before eloping with the grandson of publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer, for whom the literary prize is named. Despite a financial setback in the '80s that forced her to close her label until 1993, the Lilly Pulitzer line has remained a fixture as a reminder of the sunny shores of South Florida. Remarkably headstrong, she outrightly refused to create a Fall line of drab autumnal colors. This led to what may be considered the first resort collection, offering a splash of summer fun to the public all year round.