Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau, one of the 20th century's leading fashion designers who helped dress a wealth of famous and important individuals over her long career, has died aged 81. The designer passed away in her home in Palm Springs, Florida, surrounded by her family and loved ones, it said on statement posted on her official Facebook page.

The designer shot to fame after Jackie Kennedy, a former schoolmater of Rousseau's, was photographed wearing one of Lilly's dresses, sparking a mini-frenzy for her clothing that lasts today. However, the origins of Lily's first steps into the fashion industry are much more humble and began when she and her husband Peter Pulitzer eloped to Palm Beach, where Lilly set up a juice stand to generate some cash. As a work uniform, Lilly designed some comfortable, colourful cotton shirts that over time became more popular than the juice. Soon Lilly was designing more than just t-shirts and after the run in with the former First Lady things only went up.

As the years went by, her focus shifted to high end fashion and her popularity never really disappeared, nor will her influence as she will no doubt be inspiring young designers for years to come. "Lilly has been a true inspiration to us and we will miss her," the statement said. "In the days and weeks ahead we will celebrate all that Lilly meant to us. Lilly was a true original who has brought together generations through her bright and happy mark on the world."