The worlds of Palm Beach, Manhattan and the Hamptons collided tonight in the 10021 zip code at the ‘preppicenter’ of the universe, otherwise known as the Lilly Pulitzer store at 1020 Madison Ave. Perfectly tanned blonds in their pearls donned their best Lilly looks to converge with handsome blue-blooded gents who probably have a III or IV after their names, all in celebration of the new Lilly Pulitzer flagship store. I was sporting my Sperry Docksiders (in Navy) with khaki pants, a racing stripe belt from Polo and a navy gingham shirt and still, my look managed to pale in comparison. Everything and everyone was so over the top preppy that this could have been a theme party of preppies mocking themselves for being so darn preppy.
I almost didn’t make the cut in my semi-preppy outfit. After list check-in, I was stopped by the male socialite of distinction, Mark Gilbertson, and asked if I’d been helped. It felt a little, “are you sure you belong here”. Perhaps my decision to not wear yellow or baby blue or Kelly green gave me away. I showed him the Avenue Magazine tucked away in my Burberry Tote that I had been reading this morning which had an article about him. I passed muster and walked into a land that Gatsby himself could not have described.
The store is gorgeous, bright, airy and FUN. Men in printed pants and blue blazers escorted ladies in bright skirts and sun dresses, with white cashmere sweaters over their shoulders. I was literally in culture shock; I mean, I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and I still have not seen anything like this. This party was filled with real deal WASPs – I know this because I recognized only a few, and true WASPs only get their pics published in marriage and in death. All these pretty preppy people stay under the radar, probably at the Meadow Club.
I had a nice chat with Edward Barsamian, Market Editor of Quest Magazine. He stood out in the corner with his bright red Phillip Lim trench – a look I both identified with and appreciated. But don’t worry, he had on Docksiders too.
In a city dominated by black micro stretch everything; it was a welcome change to be blasted with bright upbeat colors and patterns that are signature to Lilly Pulitzer. The opening of this store will surely cause longer lines than a Pinkberry on a 95 degree day and the dedication of the well dressed elite attests to Lilly’s loyal fanbase. All hail Havana Cabana 2008!!!