If there’s a line of clothing that screams sunny summer days and pink cocktails by the pool, it’s Lilly Pulitzer. And Charlotte loves the brand with a passion, says Jodie Steele, manager of the Lilly Pulitzer store at SouthPark mall. “Here you can literally go to the grocery store and see Lilly,” she says.
So when a limited-edition collection designed for Target goes on sale April 19 (the official Target word: “very early in the morning”), you better have limbered up your online shopping fingers or put on your shopping shoes, because once the collection is sold out, it’s gone.
Some answers to obvious questions:
Who’s Lilly? Lilly Pulitzer began the brand in 1959 by having a shift dress made to camouflage the orange and grapefruit juices she spilled on herself working at her Palm Beach juice stand, the New York Times wrote in her obituary. (She died in 2013, after creating “a look that proved to be so popular it would become a mark of membership for old-money families at play for more than five decades,” the paper reported.)
What will be sold? The 250-piece Target collection will include clothing, housewares, beach gear and accessories for outdoor entertainment. It features 15 designs created specifically for Target, characteristically brightly colored, whimsical prints. Some – including all plus-size clothing – will be sold only online.
What are the price differences? Steele (a Wisconsin native who was delighted to see so much Lilly when she moved here) notes, “It’s Target’s clothes, so they are made a little different from ours.”
Those differences, in fabrics and construction for example, are reflected in price: Target items include a shift dress in the Happy Place print for $48, gold sandals for $30, palazzo pants in Giraffeeey (yes, it’s spelled like that and yes, there are giraffes on them) for $28, and a strapless maxi dress in Nosie Posey for $34. Similar-looking pieces sold on the Lilly website: palazzo pants in Cambridge for $148, a Marlissa strapless maxi for $188 and Phipps leather sandals for $88. At the SouthPark store, shift dresses run $98 to $298, beach pants $118 to $138.
Still, these are a far cry from previous haute couture designers collaborating with Target: Altuzarra, for instance, which offered a Target collection last fall, typically sells for thousands of dollars – much further from Target price points than the Lilly goods.
Where can I see more? You can preview a sample of the collection on Target’s website. It includes drinking glasses, bikinis and beach chairs. There are crocheted tops, fringed scarves, sandals and dresses. Most items are under $30, and prices start at $2 and go up to $250 – unless you’re buying on eBay, which often sports pieces produced by tony designers in affordable Target collaborations.
Any interesting fallout? The Twittersphere had some comments when the collaboration was announced, most along the lines of “Awesome” and some in the vein of “I’m not happy about this Lilly for Target .... Now everybody and their mother will own it and think they're now preppy and classy.” (That Twitter account, called The Southern Prep, appears to now be deactivated.)
Any guess on local interest? Manager Steele thinks there will be lots: “From the buzz I’ve heard, I feel like it is going to be Black Friday in Charlotte on April 19.”