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Color-loving fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer dies at 81

The designer famous for her tropical patterned dresses has died at her home in Palm Beach, Florida.

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Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, famous for her tropical shift dresses, has died at age 81. (FRAZER HARRISON/AFP/Getty Images)

Lilly Pulitzer, the iconic fashion designer who was famous for her fun and colorful printed dresses, died Sunday at the age of 81. 

She was at her home in Palm Beach, Fla. surrounded by family and friends, an announcement on her company's official Facebook page confirmed. 

"Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her," the statement said. "In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us. Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world."

Pulitzer made her mark on the fashion world with tropical shift dresses she designed while running an orange juice stand near her home.

She had married into the wealthy Pulitzer newspaper family and, now a rich housewife, asked her seamstress to make colorful dresses that would hide juice stains. 

Pulitzer's dresses soon outsold her drinks, according to the Associated Press. She eventually formed a company with partner Laura Robbins and the Lilly Pulitzer fashion brand quickly caught on. 

Her designs really took off when Pulitzer's boarding school friend, Jacqueline Kennedy, wore one of her shifts in a photo on a 1962 LIFE magazine cover while she was First Lady. 

The dress "was made from kitchen curtain material -- and people went crazy," Pulitzer said in her book, "Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Entertaining," reports CNN.

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

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130407/color-loving-fashion-designer-lilly-pulitzer-die