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Lilly Pulitzer exhibition opens in Palos Verdes

August 14, 2013|By Booth Moore | Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
  • "Loving Lilly: Lilly Pulitzer From the Keni Valenti Collection" is open through Sept. 29 at the Palos Verdes Art Center.
"Loving Lilly: Lilly Pulitzer From the Keni Valenti Collection"… (Gloria Plascencia )

Lilly Pulitzer, the Palm Beach queen of pink and green who died in April at 81, is the subject of a fashion exhibition open through Sept. 29 at the Palos Verdes Art Center.

"Loving Lilly: Lilly Pulitzer From the Keni Valenti Collection" is a tribute to the socialite and fashion icon, whose whimsical printed shift dresses are  American classics.

The retrospective includes 150 items culled from the collection of Miami-based vintage clothing collector Keni Valenti, who collects Lilly alongside Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and the other greats.

There's everything from original 1950s Lilly shifts to groovy 1970s pantsuits, menswear, a bridal gown, a Lilly Pulitzer Monopoly game and even a wild, sequined and feathered costume the designer wore to her son's birthday party.

Pulitzer came to fashion in an unlikely way. A young wife living in Palm Beach, Fla.,  in the late 1950s, she kept herself busy by running a juice stand using the fruits of her husband's citrus groves. To hide the stains that would inevitably appear on her clothing by day's end, she created a simple, colorful patterned shift dress. And voila, a legend was born.

Her designs appealed to a wealthy client base that included Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts and the Whitneys.  The dresses originally sold for $22 and still sell now, along with a complete line of resort wear, at LillyPulitzer.com. 

ALSO:

Lilly Pulitzer dies at 81 

Elyse Walker to launch shoe line

Teen Choice Awards: Fashion winners and losers 

booth.moore@latimes.com

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