Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2020

Lilly Pulitzer Tribute Benefiting Dress For Success Palm Beaches

Carson Kressley
Photo: Morten Smidt

Special Guest Appearance By 

Emmy Award-Winning TV Personality Carson Kressley 

Tickets In Demand For March 6th

Lilly Pulitzer is the definition of an empowered woman. Her evolution from a 28-year-old divorced working mom to a behemoth fashion brand is a life’s journey that impresses and inspires. Pulitzer, who died in 2013 at 81, will be posthumously honored with the Dress for Success Palm Beaches (DFSPB) annual Style Icon award, recognized for the phenomenal business empire she built, the personal setbacks she overcame, and the past 60 years of outfitting millions of women in her colorful, chic and uplifting designs.

 DFSPB, whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing head-to-toe workplace attire as well as courses and coaching that build self-esteem and job readiness, will be presenting the prize at its seventh annual Style for Hope fundraising luncheon, Friday, March 6, at Kravis Center. A highlight of the program:  Kelley Dunn, WPTV news anchor and event emcee, will sit down in a “Conversation with…” Pulitzer’s granddaughter Lilly Leas Ferreria and the company’s executive vice president of design and development Mira Fain. Making a special appearance and joining in this dialogue will be Emmy Award-winning television personality, style expert and fashion designer Carson Kressley. He will bring context to the impact Lilly Pulitzer had on fashion, culture and history. 

“Growing up near the Main Line of Philadelphia,” said Kressley, “all the chic women of my childhood wore Lilly! And they still do, because it’s bold, fun and powerful. The optimism and exuberance of Lilly Pulitzer lives on as an icon of American style. Her legacy is one of reinvention and empowerment. Lilly Pulitzer is deserving of this recognition, and I’m excited to join with Dress for Success and be part of the celebration.”

No mere footnote in the history of fashion, Lilly Pulitzer’s contribution is an entire chapter. She started with a juice stand in Palm Beach, and made a complete one-eighty into fashion with an enterprising and ingenious solution for masking the citrus splatters and stains on her dresses by producing colorful print shifts. The look became a huge hit, especially after First Lady Jackie Kennedy was photographed wearing one of the designs. Ultimately what Lilly Pulitzer achieved was creation of a new and distinctive category of resort wear – cherry, sunny and joyful. Today, the brand has been reinvigorated and continues to resonate as a lifestyle leader.

In addition to celebrating Lilly Pulitzer, DFSPB also will be marking its 10th Anniversary. The doors of the community service organization first opened in this area in April, 2010, and since then it has helped nearly 6,000 women obtain an appropriate wardrobe for their job interviews, counseled them in preparation, and set them on a path to self-sufficiency. 

According to Mary Hart, DFSPB executive director, the Style for Hope luncheon also will be an occasion to salute her predecessor and the local affiliate’s founder Diane Wilde, plus hear from a recent client who has “graduated” from one of the organization’s job readiness programs and experienced the transformational effects it provides. “We have a lot happening at this year’s event, and it promises to be as lively as ever as we shed light on the incredible power of women in our community,” said Hart. 

Iris Apfel, last year’s recipient of the inaugural Style Icon award, serves as the honorary chair of the 2020 luncheon along with event co-chairs Bernadette O’Grady, WPTV’s director of programming and community service, and communications consultant Faith Meyer. Event sponsors to date are Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, FPL, The Gardens Mall and Minto Communities.

Tickets for the Style for Hope luncheon are now on sale at Individual seats are $150, or $300 for added entry to an exclusive meet-and-greet reception with Kressley and the other headliners; a table of 10 is $1,250. A Champagne reception beginning at 11:30 a.m. precedes the luncheon and features silent and chance auctions. 

Dress for Success®

Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to 160 cities in 29 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 1 million women work toward self-sufficiency. The local affiliate Dress for Success Palm Beaches opened its doors in April, 2010, to serve a community where the poverty rate for women is 20.9%, and in that time has assisted nearly 6,000 women through job readiness courses and its defining wardrobing program. 


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