The doyenne of floral and fruit-patterned frocks, Pulitzer, who was 81 when she died on April 7, was a fashion designer, a socialite and an author. But first she was a problem solver: she began designing her vibrant shifts to camouflage stains left by fruit from the citrus-juice stand she started after marrying Herbert “Peter” Pulitzer Jr., grandson of publishing titan Joseph Pulitzer, who owned orange groves in Palm Beach, Fla. Soon her dresses were selling better than her juice. In 1962, after Jacqueline Kennedy appeared in LIFE wearing one of her colorful creations, business boomed, and Pulitzer’s preppy prints became a staple among high-society fashionistas. Pulitzer stopped designing in 1984 when her company filed for bankruptcy, but her high-key designs remain influential in contemporary fashion.
This text originally appeared in the April 22 issue of TIME magazine.
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