Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Preppy American Brunch celebrated the 80th Birthday of Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History

The Preppy American Brunch chairperson Mary Lane (center) with Barbara Malone and Lisa Stuart under the big white tent at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History
On Saturday, November 12, 2011 over 100 hundred people gathered at the Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History in Boynton Beach, Florida to celebrate the 80th birthday of Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau. The fete was sold-out! Lilly gave birth to the colorful, printed shift that is a staple to this day in the wardrobe of the preppy crowd. How better to celebrate this fashion icon than to throw a party!
Planning a party for the “Queen of the Jungle” (the jungle is how Lilly refers to her Palm Beach home) was a labor of love for Mary Lane , the chairperson of the event and the Lilly Ambassador. It had to be special because Lilly was known to throw some great parties in her younger days. Lisa Stuart, from Key West, Florida and Newport, Rhode Island; and Barbara Malone, from Greenwich, Connecticut were enlisted to help plan this soiree. The trio reached out to friends and bloggers from coast to coast to publicize and promote the event. The other preppy committee members included Lori J. Durante, Kristen KerlCheryl Moffett and Chuck West.
Fred Castleberry and preppy designer Kiel James Patrick standing in front of The Palm Tree mural designed by Skyler Carosella at The Preppy American Brunch 2011

Preppies Sarah Vickers, Kiel James Patrick, F.E. Castleberry and Tori Linder at The Preppy American Brunch 2011

The invitation for this preppy party did not need to list a dress code – everyone showed up in Lilly attire both old and new. It was a colorful bouquet of fashion. The guests entered a tented area in front of the Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History and were greeted with potted palms and a colorful array of tables draped in Lilly prints with names that screamed fun: Baking in the Sun, Day Trippers and Main Squeeze to name a few. Gift bags from C. Orrico, a Palm Beach Lilly Via store, adorned each seat with special gifts including a preppy bracelet from Kiel James Patrick. Centerpieces were tall cylinder vases filled with oranges because all Lilly lovers know that it all started with a juice stand. The guests sipped rum swizzles garnished with orange and pineapple slices to which Lilly said, “I’ll have one of those!” A scrumptious buffet brunch catered by Lilly's favorite gourmet deli Toojay's was enjoyed by the party crowd as they listened to the jazz sounds of Michael Kennedy.  Bonnie's Best Bites baked sweet Butter Pecan Tartlettes for the brunch. Gourmet coffee and lattes were served by Coffee on Call sponsored by David Lerner & Associates. When it was time to blow out the candle on her pink and green cupcake created by Artfully Baked,  Kiel James Patrick, in his perfectly preppy attire from Newport, Rhode Island, led the crowd in a round of Happy Birthday and told the crowd that Lilly had been an inspiration for him and his fashion business.

Models wearing Lilly Resort Collection from C.Orrico in Delray Beach at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History for The Preppy American Brunch. Hair styled by Master Cuts at Boynton Beach Mall and Make-up by M.A.C Cosmetics at Macy's-Boynton Beach

Models wearing a colorful array of Lilly fashions waltzed through the party in both vintage fashions (provided by Nancy’s Vintage Warehouse) and current styles from the Resort Collection (provided by C. Orrico in Delray Beach). Lilly’s styles are timeless and you had to be a true Lilly fashionista to discern between the two. Several vintage items, donated by Hadley Kombrink and Looking 4 Lilly were included in the silent auction and the bidding was fierce on these items. A one of a kind hand painted commemorative plate designed especially for this event by Creations by Meryl had guests hovering over the silent auction table!  The silent auction proceeds benefitted the Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History.
Children or “Minnies” as Lilly calls them played a special role in the event. A special violin serenade by Willow Moffett, age 8, delighted Lilly as did the flowers presented by sisters Katie and Abbey Kerl. The bouquet of flowers were designed by Gerilyn Gianna Event & Floral Design. 10 year old Katie Kerl also read the poem Artist in the Sky written by Milla Antoinette Ravo. The poem was inspired by Ravo's late daughter Patricia Ann Ravo who passed away from breast cancer and left a bequest for the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History. First grade students at Trinity Lutheran School in Delray Beach created birthday cards for Lilly. Trinity is one of the oldest private schools in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau (right) with violinist Willow Moffett and sisters Katie & Abbey Kerl at The Preppy American Brunch
8 year-old violinist Willow Moffett serenaded Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau for Rousseau's 80th Birthday Brunch at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History in Boynton Beach, Florida
Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau received two bouquets of birthday flowers from sisters Abbey, age 6, and Katie Kerl, age 10.  The bouquets were designed and donated by Gerilyn Gianna Event & Floral Design
Committee members Mary Lane, Barbara Malone and Lisa Stuart also presented to Lilly flowers and a hand painted personalized plate and wine glass for her birthday.  The gift-giving continued when Jo Jo Harder, author, style doyenne and President/Owner/Creator of America's Top Dog Model, personally presented to Lilly the 2012 Calendar for America's Top Dog Model.

Birthday plate designed by Creations by Meryl for Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau at The Preppy American Brunch 2011
The real present for Lilly was seeing all the guests who traveled from near and far to celebrate this milestone birthday with her. Lilly was gracious and spent time with each guest listening intently to their story of their love for Lilly. There were smiles, hugs and lots of photo ops. Taylor McGrath, a law student at the University of Florida was so thrilled to meet Lilly that she exclaimed, “my life is now complete.” She even had her sign the commemorative plate that she won in the silent auction and she clutched it for dear life as she was holding on to the memories of a day she will never forget.
Lynne McGrath, Taylor McGrath and Tracy Datlen at The Preppy American Brunch 2011
The Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History provided the backdrop for the party and the guests strolled through the exhibit reliving the 50 years of fashion that all started in Palm Beach. Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau downplays her role in fashion history but there is a twinkle in her eye as she recalls the name of the prints she designed years ago that we still long for today. Lori Durante, Executive Director of the Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History has a passion for keeping this story alive through the exhibit and special events for “Queen of Prep: Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau” exhibit (formerly named For the Love of LILLY).
The Queen of Prep exhibit about Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau has been extended to November 2012, due to popular demand.  Donations are greatly appreciated in any amount to help support the continuation of the exhibit and the development of school field trips for children.   Donations can be made on-line, click here. For more information, call 561-243-2662 or e-mail:

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau celebrates her 80th birthday at The Preppy American Brunch with committee member Chuck West of David Lerner & Associates and Lilly Ambassador Mary Lane

Guests in attendance traveled from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Dallas, Atlanta; Tampa, Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Longwood, Florida; Hobe Sound, Florida; and locally from Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Manalapan, Stuart and Fort Lauderdale.
After almost a year in the making, Lilly was whisked away and guests went about their own ways (I know for a fact that many headed to the nearest Lilly store as they left hungry for more Lilly fashions).  We sat there amidst the remnants of a great soiree and pondered the question, “What can we do to celebrate her 81st?”
Sponsors were David Lerner & Associates, Simon Property Group, Boris & Edith Rueger Fund, Patricia Ann Ravo Fund, US 1 AC Self Storage, Gerilyn Gianna Event & Floral Design, Artfully Baked, Bonnie's Best Bites, Master Cuts, M.A.C Cosmetics at Macy's-Boyntnon Beach,Karen Lee, Mary Lane, Barbara Malone and Lisa Stuart.
MLFH Executive Director & Chief Curator Lori J. Durante with Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau at The Preppy American Birthday Brunch 2011

Charity Heaton, Jen Bates with blogger Bethany of Maryland Pink & Green

Laurie Herter with blogger Petunia in Paradise at The Preppy American Brunch 2011 hosted at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History

Kerry Barr, Natalie Nash and Melissa Caligiuri at The Preppy American Brunch 2011
Brian and Jennifer Cohen at The Preppy American Brunch 2011
Lilly Ambassador Mary Lane with Ashley Brooke Quintana and Betsy Storey
at The Preppy American Brunch 2011

Janine Picone of Artfully Baked created the official pink and green cupcakes for the 80th birthday brunch for Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau hosted at the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History
Preppy American Brunch committee members Cheryl Moffett, Kristen Kerl
and MLFH Executive Director Lori J. Durante
Photos by Lucien Capehart Photography
Blog written by Mary Lane

Monetary donations are needed for the preservation of the vintage Lilly clothes donated for  the history exhibit dedicated to the Queen of Prep.  Donations are greatly appreciated in ANY amount.  Click here to make donation.

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