I recently attended a pop-up event in Bryant Park for Lilly Pulitzer for Target that made me think about the accessibility of designer fashion. The founder of the iconic company passed away in 2013, her brand synonymous with country clubs and WASPY culture. Last year, I wrote a piece about my experience as a Jewish Girl entering the WASPY world of country clubs and Lilly Pulitzer. The Palm Beach style fabrics seemed to go well with that world. A world in which I didn't "fit," but when I wore Lilly dresses, I individualized the look to reflect my funky style.
Before there was Target, Loehmann's gave me access to designer brands at lower prices. And Loehmann's is where I purchased my first Lilly Pulitzer dress. It was this dress that I wore at my friend's country club, only I re-created the design. I shortened the knee length dress to a mini-dress reminiscent of Twiggy in the 1960's (only with a much curvier body), and I paired it with black combat boots and a shredded jean jacket. Maybe Lilly would not have approved with what I did with her designs. But I've never been one to judge style. How can I? Style is someone's individuality and creative execution; I appreciate it.
So, the executives of Lilly Pulitzer decided to partner with Target to bring their fashion to the masses. The PR/Publicity team did a great job creating excitement and, most importantly, selling out of the designs in a day. But there are people who are upset about Lilly "selling out." The comments I've read are an interesting array of elitism, brand loyalty and protection of Lilly Pulitzer. Not saying I believe in making everything commercial, I don't at all. But there is something so wonderful about fashion being accessible for all, don't you agree?
Apparently, Lilly was an inclusive person, and would have been happy about the broad reach of the brand. I understand that in the end, this is truly a business decision for the company. But as a consumer, I sure do appreciate the access to designer fashion for all people. Here is my original piece, "Mrs. Lilly Pulitzer, May I wear Combat Boots with your Dresses?"