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Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer dies at 81

April 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM

PALM BEACH, Fla., April 7 (UPI) -- Florida fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer passed away at her home in Palm Beach Sunday morning, her family said. She was 81.

Pulitzer, whose full name was Lillian Bostwick Phipps Pulitzer Rousseau, passed away "surrounded by family and loved ones," her company's Facebook page said.

After marrying her husband Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of press giant Joseph Pulitzer, in 1957, Lilly Pulitzer started selling oranges and grapefruits and orange juice from her husband's parents' grove in Florida, People magazine reported.

"Since I spent my days squeezing fruit, I was always covered with juice," Pulitzer told people in 1982. "So I designed myself a cotton shift [dress] in colors that matched the fruit."

She said she got so many compliments on the dress that she had her dressmaker -- Pulitzer didn't sew -- to make 20 more and she sold them along with the fruits and juices.

"They took off like zingo," she said. "Everybody loved them, and I went into the dress business."

Pulitzer divorced Peter 1969 and later that year married Enrique Rousseau, a Cuban lawyer and rancher. Rousseau passed away in 1993.

Lilly Pulitzer is survived by her children Liza, Minnie and Peter Pulitzer, and her grandchildren, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.

"In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us," the post on her company's Facebook said. "Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world."

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