The boutique Wednesday at Troy's Somerset Collection was more colorful than usual as fashion artist and area native Paige Smith showcased her talents.
Smith, who was raised in Bloomfield Village and attended and schools, is one of five associate print designers for Lilly Pulitzer, which is based in King of Prussia, PA.
The 26-year-old artist visited the store to showcase her new print clothing designs and demonstrate her painting and technique for the boutique's patrons.
Seated at a table surrounded by colorful palettes and a variety of paint tubes and brushes, Smith answered questions, explained how she paints and talked about what inspires her. Smith explained the design process, starting from colorful ideas swirling in her mind to putting them on paper and scanning them into a computer before reviewing the work with the design team and sending it off to fabric makers.
"My style is considered a bit painterly," she said, explaining that it's more loose and less linear. “I like to mix in some gouache to the watercolors to give the surface a more velvety texture."
Lilly Pulitzer started creating her brightly-colored classic, shift dresses in 1959 for a practical reason: They hid the stains she got from selling orange juice at a stand through her husband’s Florida citrus groves. The style spread among Palm Beach socialites and Pulitzer was able to turn the fruit stand into a dress boutique.
Smith said she has met Pulitzer and is inspired by her energy and creativity.
A graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design, Smith said she grew up in a family of Lilly-lovers. It isn't surprising that she once worked at Pink Envy in Birmingham, a shop that carried Lilly Pulitzer apparel.
While in town, Smith said she and her parents are planning a holiday getaway to Harbor Springs. The postcard-perfect town is situated on Michigan's northwest coast and brims with beach scenes and sunsets that seem to match Smith's artistic style.
“I’ll do some research there,” Smith said.
Adriana Vlasic, of Bloomfield Township, was one of the Lilly Pulitzer fans who attended the demonstration on Wednesday and received an original signed painting from Smith with her purchase from the shop.
“I really like the blue and green one,” Vlasic said. “It will look great in my daughter’s room.”
Smith couldn't put her finger on a favorite.
“I like them all,” she said.