Melbourne socialite Lillian Frank dies aged 92

Melbourne socialite and fashion icon Lillian Frank has died aged 92.

Frank’s daughter, Jackie Frank, announced her mother’s death on social media, saying the family has lost its “heart and soul”.

“She lived life to the max, without any regrets and was forever grateful,” she said.

1999 Melbourne Cup General Crowds Lillian Frank and her toothbrush hat.
Lillian Frank and her toothbrush hat at the 1999 Melbourne Cup. (Craig Sillitoe,)

“She saw things through rose-coloured glasses.

“No matter what adversity she had to face, and there were many, she saw the good in everyone and everything.

“She used her flamboyant personality and social standing for good, raising millions and millions for charity.

“She had a very public life and I was often asked what’s it like growing up with Lillian Frank as your mum?

“My answer, to us she was mum, to my kids’ nani and the most spectacular selfless human being in the world with the biggest heart.

“We love you but a piece of our hearts will be broken forever.”

Lilian Frank in a Kerry Stanley hat in the Emirates marquee.
Lilian Frank in a Kerry Stanley hat in the Emirates marquee. (Rebecca Hallas)
Lillian Frank at the 1984 Melbourne Cup.
Lillian Frank at the 1984 Melbourne Cup. (The Age)

Frank was born in Myanmar in 1930 before her family fled during the war.

When she arrived in Australia, Frank set up a hairdressing salon in Toorak where she became the hair stylist for Jean Shrimpton, who made the bold and memorable choice to wear a miniskirt at the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

Frank spent her life fundraising for Victorian charities.

Lillian Frank and Wackie  in her Malvern loungeroom.
Lillian Frank and Wackie in her Malvern loungeroom. (Mark Wilson)

In 1991, Frank was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her charity work.

Tributes have flowed for the philanthropist best known as Melbourne’s first influencer and fashion icon.

Labor MP Jaala Pulford said the Victorian community stands in solidarity with Frank’s family.

“We express our deepest condolences to them at what’s a really difficult time,” she said.

“We thank her for her incredible presence, her incredible work in business and the community.”

Tributes from the fashion community are flowing today.

Designer Alex Perry said “rest peacefully beautiful Lillian”.

“I know how heartbreaking this is, but she is shining down on you always,” he said.

Fellow designer Toni Maticevski said: “What a bloody amazing woman she was!!”

“Added sparkle and smiles to everyone of our lives,” Maticevski said.

Lillian Frank

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