The Lilly Pulitzer that we know and love today was started by its namesake in 1959 by a New York socialite. Lilly was the wife of Peter Pulitzer, a man who owned many citrus groves in Florida. This inspired her to open up a juice stand off of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, but the juices could get a bit messy. In order to hide her juice stains, she wore her own handmade shift dresses in beautiful prints fit for the resort life. Floridians loved the color and excitement in her prints and a new business was born.
On Sunday April 19, Lilly Pulitzer starts a new chapter with the launch of Lilly Pulitzer for Target. The collection will include tank tops, crop tops, palazzo pants, shorts, jumpers and rompers, swimsuits and cover ups, and of course the iconic shift dresses. But it will also include items for the home like plates, candle votives, pillows, chairs, a wicker basket, and even a hammock.
There are two sides amongst fans— those that are against their beloved Lilly being more readily available to the masses and those that are highly anticipating the collection. But whatever side you may be on, we have to think about the business decision behind Lilly Pulitzer for Target. The business behind it is to make the brand more accessible and therefore increase sales for both companies. Will it be a huge success?
As a Lilly fan myself, I was so excited to see the social media team announce a special pop up store in Bryant Park on Thursday April 16 to purchase from the collection, and to top it off, get a free manicure and some juice. If anyone knows how to do a resort party right, Lilly Pulitzer does, all while generating buzz for the nationwide release. I also took the pop up shop as a great opportunity for this article— I would be able to get a glimpse of what the turnout at Target stores may be like on Sunday morning.
I got to the park a little bit after 8 AM, which is when the event began. The line was huge, to say the least. If you’re familiar with the park, you’ll know that there is a restaurant called The Bryant Park Grill on one side. The line started right at the front door of the restaurant and continued down the side of it, set up sort of like those lines at the airport, zig zagging through the sidewalk and all the way down to the library. Needless to say, I got there pretty late and ended up starting my journey on the side of the library. The line contained several hundred New York City Lilly fans eager to get their hands on the collaboration. After nearly two hours in line, I was able to walk through the doors to pick out my five items. Inside, it was like a mad dash to guess our sizes (there were no fitting rooms) and purchase our goodies.
Based on my experience at the pop up shop, which contained pretty dedicated Lilly fans, I’d say that Lilly Pulitzer made a good business decision in collaborating with Target. While I see the appeal of a smaller brand with limited locations and therefore a specific clientele, I like that people across America will get a chance to be dressed like they’re going to the latest resort party in Palm Beach. When I look at new Lilly prints, I can’t help but smile because of how cheerful they are and the good life that they represent. Now more people will be able to experience that too.
The one-time-only collaboration will be a success for both Lilly Pulitzer and Target. Target will get tons of Lilly fans that are excited to add to their collections at home. Lilly Pulitzer will get new customers into their regular stores because Target will introduce them to the vibrant colors and unique patterns. All in all, both stores will luck out and the collection is bound to sell out immediately.
If you’d like to get your hands on the new prints, I would recommend getting to your nearest Target store as early as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of a Lilly print, anticipate a big turnout. If past Target collaborations have taught us anything, it’s that people love to get designer names for less and will show up in groves to do so.
To see more of this limited edition collection, head over to Target.
To read more about Lilly Pulitzer’s story, go to their website.