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Friday, December 05, 2008

Lily Pulitzer “Wink’, Squeeze” and “Beachy”

By Beth

I wanted to hate these, I really did. When I saw them in all of their pink, blue and golden splendor, first at Saks Fifth Avenue and then at Dillard’s I was filled with the overwhelming urge to scream , run and hide. You see, I grew up in a Lily Pulitzer world and my wardrobe was filled with Lily skirts and pink and green Papagallo pumps. My personal orb in the early 70’s was one in which certain well bred young ladies went to dancing school every Friday night and learned to curtsy, while harboring secret longings to run outside, smoke the cigarettes that we had stashed in our escorts pockets, kiss them recklessly while screaming bloody murder. I had to wear pearls and white gloves. My lipstick was pink, because nude would have been far too sexy. Instead of allowing it’s natural wave to be present, I blew dry my hair to stick straightness everyday. I was forced to wear Arpege .

Thank goodness for those cigarettes, a lovely guilty pleasure that I snuck every chance I got!

Lily Pulitzer clothing was one of the “privileged “ girls favorite affectations, the preppy uniform of choice. For a girl like me who read Vogue, studied “Cosmo” passionately and adored Haute Couture, LP clothes were the equivalent of a prison uniform. Quite frankly I was always lusting jealously after Catholic schoolgirl fashion as those short plaid skirts and knee socks always seemed thoroughly naughty. Fortunately for me by 1977, the saccharine sweetness of “Lily pink and green” had given away to the sexiness of the first Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress that I ever owned which I wore to my graduation without a bra! I was working then and refused to let my mother buy my clothes for me anymore. I also stopped blowing my hair dry and spent a small fortune on Orlane makeup and Halston perfume! I was pearl scarred until at least 2 years ago, opting instead for chunky silver and turquoise.

My final act of defiance was the dress that I wore to the Assembly ball of 1978, a very sexy black Carmen Miranda number with an off the shoulder red chiffon blouson, Renee Russo hair and Mexican silver. I left my date, a very nice but totally boring boy for the opportunity to smoke hash in a conversion van with several of the wilder, cuter preppy boys . Needless to say, my date was very aggravated and I was quickly set free! That was the same poor boy that I scandalized by refusing to enter through the women’s doors of The Union Club that very same evening. Can you imagine? I hate to admit it but that entrance still exists today. Fortunately I think that Tom was secretly relieved! His father was the mayor of the very conservative town that I grew up in and I would definitely have created an image problem for that family!

Lily Pulitzer clothing never fully disappeared, but last year I was completely blown away when a Lily store opened in the fashion mall right around the corner from my apartment. I took a chance and walked in to find the same saccharine girls of my youth, but actually some very cute fashion. I will probably never be able to wear them again without coming down with a full blown case of the hives, but I’ve come to accept that she’s back in full force. However, I’m shocked to say that her perfume is actually fun to wear!

There are three Lily fragrances, “Beachy”, which comes in a lovely blue bottle, “Wink” which is of course all dressed in pink and “Squeeze” which is actually the one that I like the best and packaged in a bottle of sun drenched yellow. They are all emblazoned with little Lily ribbons, there are scented candles and hand creams to accent the very patrician image of the line. The bottles are designed to be reminiscent of sea glass. They’re really very pretty. Wait…who just said that?

I find myself amused to say that these scents are anything but patrician, they’re more than a little sexy and quite a lot of fun. “Wink” is very rosy with lots of musk and pear while “Beachy” is cheery and fresh, smelling of the Frangipani that I loved as a child and drenched with watermelon. ”Beachy” also has a lot of what I affectionately refer to as “That fake ocean smell”, but I don’t mind it , the dosage of vanilla and amber renders the marine accord inoffensive to me. “Squeeze” is my favorite and the one that I (GASP!) will probably return to buy. Lots of juicy pink grapefruit, lychee nut and a nice woody drydown laced with sexy adolescent musk make this one more than a little intriguing and nostalgic for me. I spent several spring vacations in Hawaii where the surfers were beautiful and the worlds finest marijuana was tucked amidst the pineapple plantations! Not that I ever paid too much attention to either!

Lily Pulitzer perfumes can be found in all of their bright glory at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Blogger tmp00 said...

Well of course LP was the prison uniform of he ladies of my yoof.

I'm gad that it can be viewed with a dose of irony; I wonder if they've upped the game?

I would have loooved to have met you in those hash smoking rebel days. My rebel these days is two glasses of Chardonnay..

12:13 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, you have captured the essence of this lifestyle perfectly! I used to leaf through Town & Country and wonder who in the heck wore those clothes! I too preferred Cosmo and Vogue, and the weird LP pastels seemed to belong to a world peopled entirely by senior citizens who retired to "planned communities" in Florida.

I must go to Saks and check these out, thanks for the heads up!

4:28 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

LP clothing was the fave uniform of most of the girls at my undergrad university (terrifyingly conservative, young Republican bastion). I chose to go completely punk and escape north to NYC at every possible opportunity. :-) But I have to confess that since that time I have bought and worn several pairs of LP capris and a couple of dresses. God help me, but I do enjoy the colors. :-) Am going to have to give these scents a sniff and try to keep an open mind.

4:29 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I was definitely a rebel and I had alot of fun:)
You and I would have been BFF...i know it in my bones!

I know what you mean...two drinks and it's all over for me:)

11:31 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


Those weird pastels....what about those bizarre madras and plaid slacks:) Or men who wore madras jackets with the plaid slacks..or women who wore the plaid slacks with the pink shirts with creatures all over them. Uh oh...I'm beginning to itch:) All that was the look of my town....not a dior dress in sight. Now they worship at the feet of Ralph Lauren, but I actually can't argue with that one.
Try them though..they're really not bad!

11:36 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I will allow that the colors are very pretty:) These scents are fun, I was surprised! LP although the icon of preppy couture is actually a very chic lady. She's just made a fortune selling some fairly weird clothes:) I bet the capris are very cute though and I must admit that because it's very cold right now in Cleveland that just seeing the bottles made me happy and quite a bit warm!
Do give them a try.....I'll bet everyone will have a different favorite!

11:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear B.,

I never knew you smoked...cigarettes?
As your contrary, I loved Wales Tale and Havres. I was, however; subjected to the Catholic school girl uniform which I secretly coveted, having tartan blood. Yea we were naughty, in spite of our dress. I got kicked out of the Union Club, twice. It's always the fragrance that conjures those memories. Let's go find something "bad" to do!


1:54 PM EST  
Blogger melisand61 said...

Delurking due to the emotional tug of this post! I was anything but a preppy gal. Wore halter tops, gauzy ethnic blouses and the occasional platform shoes. Artsy and creative during high school, but not sure of where to go for college, off I went to UVA in the late 70's. Right into that bastion of pink and green preppiness. TRAUMA! I remember my suitemates dressing me up in some outfit with a white turtleneck that had little blue and green whales on it. Gack! So, I probably will not buy the LP scents. Some things are best left in the past!

2:16 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do like the cheerful colors of LP but I'm surprised that you liked the scents--now I'm intrigued!!!! They sound perfect for someone like me who is living in a warm climate all year. Is Wink a fresh rose or a heavier rose? Thanks--Jen

11:15 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems like it's take a number and get to the back of the line to preach to the converted about that godawful pink and green - and those BLOODY espadrilles. lily pulitzer's design team in the 70's must have been hired to redress a slap on the bum for the screaming absence of handicaped employees. but for a fashion house to hire visually handicaped, who have that rarest of color blindness, "omnia verde-dianthus rosa" (not bad, for something so rare that no one has heard of it. latin makes b.s. so believable.)
my mother and i had killer fights because i refused to pulitzer.

where mom failed, God prevailed. i ended up at a small jr. college: 410 of the MEANEST, richest underachieving females in the u.s. i wasn't rich, but survival instinct is strong, so i was formidably nasty. not only was i surrounded w/pink and green idiots, but... the school colors...were, well, you know. (God's unsubtle message about honoring the mum, i guess. didn't work - now i'm constantly dodging lightning bolts.) i couldn't escape. i tried. incarcerated for 2 years w/pink and green everywhere.
so here we are, the anti pulitzer survivors from the 70's. i bet some of us ended up babbling in ER's, mistakenly diagnosed as just one more idiot seeing the bad side of LSD. oblivious to "omnia verde-dianthus rosa", syndrome, so VERY recently discovered, they went for the obvious.
SO, i am very glad for these reviews. tho' i will approach w/trepidation (read paranoid panic) that the disease lingers, is air born, and i'll end up in an eternal pink and green agony forever.
but i'll chance it. always pushing that envelope, that's me.

uh huh. good luck, fellow survivors. if anyone succumbs, let us all know before you become a suicide statistic. (i know i have a sick sense of humor, so don't bother.)

11:12 PM EDT  

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