Lilly Pulitzer’s Daughters Design Line Honoring Their Late Mom on the 65th Anniversary of Her Fashion Empire

Sky blue ocean, poolside lunches and flower-filled garden parties brought the late designer Lilly Pulitzer great joy and eventually inspired designs for her eponymous clothing company

Published Time: 12.05.2024 - 16:31:18 Modified Time: 12.05.2024 - 16:31:18

Sky blue ocean, poolside lunches and flower-filled garden parties brought the late designer Lilly Pulitzer great joy and eventually inspired designs for her eponymous clothing company.

To celebrate the brand’s 65 years of existence and honor the founder/designer, the Lilly Pulitzer Company asked her daughters Minnie and Liza Pulitzer to design a capsule collection. The 14-piece line of shifts, maxi caftans, long-sleeve linen dresses, swimwear, coverups, and high-rise white jeans is named Barefoot in Paradise, because Lilly was a free spirit who often walked around without shoes.

“Minnie and I were honored to be asked to work with the company on this collection because it pays homage to our mother,” Liza, 67, a real-estate professional in Palm Beach, Fla., tells PEOPLE of the breezy designs offered in primarily blue and white with a retail range of $68-$278.

“We always loved mom’s prints and knew anything we designed to reflect our mother and her legacy would have to be fun, whimsical, vibrant and make people smile. We are thrilled that the collection launched right before Mother’s Day.”

In 1959, when Lilly opened a Palm Beach juice stand, she asked her dressmaker for something to hide the splashes of citrus juice. This effort resulted in the comfortable, sleeveless Lilly Pulitzer shift made of colorful printed cotton. It grew like topsy, and a fashion business was born. (Lilly died in 2013 at age 81.) 

Today, the iconic fashion company, which was sold to Oxford Industries in 2010, operates 62 Lilly Pulitzer stores, including a Palm Beach location where the Barefoot in Paradise collection was launched for family and friends.

The sisters, who live close to each other in Palm Beach, began working with company designers last summer, keeping their mother’s lighthearted and casually elegant Palm Beach lifestyle in mind. 

Liza and Minnie, who meet every morning at 5:45 to walk along the beach, watch the sunrise, gab and collect shells, had numerous Zoom calls and follow-up meetings to tweak the designs after seeing their fashion ideas on models.  

Both agree their mother would be thrilled with this collection and its emphasis on blues, which she loved, as well as seeing her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren wearing the designs.

“Mom would be beside herself with joy especially if she saw her great-grandchildren, who she never met, wearing items from this collection,” Minnie, 68, an artist, muralist and Palm Beach real-estate professional, tells PEOPLE.

Agrees Liza: “We are such a close-knit family, a big village, and in each other’s lives.”

Both Liza, who actually designed a junior line (“Liza by Lilly Pulitzer”) alo -

ngside her mother in the 1980s, and Minnie, who had a children’s collection (“Minnies”) named for her, wanted breathable fabrics, linens and overall comfortable designs that they personally would wear. 

“We designed for our family members and for us,” Liza says.

“I travel in the summer so my favorite piece is the white on white jeans, high-waisted and stretch. It has the Lilly feeling — even a floral pattern — and looks great with an oversize sweater or a T-shirt.”

Minnie’s favorite item in the line is the big shell sarong with the long-sleeve one-piece swimsuit running a close second. “I love the sarong,” she says. “It’s multipurpose and can be worn from morning to night. I even tie it up and wear it to garden. And I like the bathing suit for swimming each day."

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The sisters made sure this collection included popular Lilly Pulitzer truffles like deep pockets, bows on bathing suits, eyelet, flowers, shells, animals and, of course moody blues and other ocean colors.

“Everything we designed paid homage to our mom,” Liza says.

“We loved that her life was an open door with everyone welcome. This was both day and night, for strangers, family, new people — always a cast of characters. Our lives were free, no boundaries and always inclusive.”

While young, Liza and Minnie watched their mom build the business, often accompanying her to the Miami factory where they played hide and seek among the hanging dresses. As they grew older, they studied the trim, and the kinds of people who bought the clothing.

“We eventually discovered that everyone who loved Lillys was a fun person,” Minnie says. “The clothing transforms personalities, and the customers look like they are filled with joy.”

Minnie’s daughter, Lilly Leas Ferreira, 35, a consultant to the Lilly Pulitzer Company, agrees that the Barefoot in Paradise collection is filled with the love and legacy of her grandmother carried on by her mom and aunt.

“My grandmother’s first designs were filled with so much joy, and I feel the same way about this collection,” says Ferreira, who wrote a children’s book last year called Life and Lilly illustrating her childhood in Palm Beach.

“I’ve worked on many exciting projects, but nothing comes close to the love and authenticity of this collection. The big shell-print pareo is already my summer uniform.”

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