Janie Schoenborn, Lilly’s Vice President of Creative Communications, shared some of her infectious enthusiasm with us.

INTERVIEW Lilly Pulitzer

A staple for timeless, sunny style

According to iconic American designer, Lilly Pulitzer (who passed away last month at age 81), her bold and cheery eponymous brand owed everything to the moment when young Jacqueline Kennedy was snapped in one of her dresses on vacation.

To put it in Lilly Pulitzer’s actual words: her bright print shift dresses took off “like zingo” when old schoolmate Jackie Kennedy was snapped wearing one (made from curtain material) while taking a vacation break. In those early days, a Lilly frock was the epitome of post-war optimism—all vibrant patterns in hot pinks and cheerful yellows, juicy greens and oranges.

Since then, Lilly Pulitzer’s legacy has flourished, evolving from the sunny shifts, smocks, and pastel flower prints of yesteryear into today’s resort wear, accessories, and cute clothes for kids. Janie Schoenborn, Lilly’s Vice President of Creative Communications, shared some of her infectious enthusiasm with us.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I’ve always had a passion for bright, printed fashion. When I was little, our playroom was decorated to look like a circus, with animals painted everywhere—it has left me totally unafraid of color. Look at Lilly, she put her amazing prints on anything, and it worked.

First ever design?
A bright pink tote bag when I started my own business, Buzz by Jane Fox. Coincidentally, the first thing I worked on at Lilly was a tote bag in a happy print.

You clearly love your job?
It’s such an inspiring place. Our designers blow me away with their talent. Plus, I’m a visually excessive person. More info plus more stimulation equals more ideas—I can indulge all that here.

This year was your first time using SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. How did it go?
Our spring theme was ‘Life’s a Party, Dress Like It!’ It was an irresistible treat to put so much shimmer onto party dresses. My eight-year-old daughter, Tiki, was immediately drawn to the designs with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.

What feeling do crystals add to your clothes?
Our customers love a graceful entrance followed by a “You look fabulous!”—exactly what happened when our models walked down the petitePARADE runway in New York in March.

Where do you go to relax?
Palm Beach. It has all the best qualities—sun, fun people, a ‘resort’ state of mind, great shopping. It completely refreshes my spirit and remains part of the inspiration behind the Lilly Pulitzer brand.

Swarovski Crystals Magazine #01 - Everyday Extraordinary

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