Melbourne socialite, fashion icon and philanthropist Lillian Frank dies aged 92

Melbourne socialite and philanthropist Lillian Frank is being remembered for her contribution to the city’s life and culture, after her death aged 92.

Ms Frank’s daughter, Jackie Frank, announced the news on social media, saying her family had lost its “heart and soul” on Friday night.

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

“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.”

Lillian Frank’s daughter says her mother lived life through “rose colored glasses” and always saw the good in people.(Instagram)

Lillian Frank was born in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), before her family fled during the Japanese invasion of World War II.

Her daughter wrote that despite the adversity she faced, “she saw the good in everyone and everything”.

Lillian Frank settled in Melbourne in the 1950s, establishing her Toorak hairdressing salon and becoming highly active in the city’s social scene.

She was the hair stylist for Jean Shrimpton when the English model famously wore a white mini-dress to the Melbourne races in 1965.

A black-and-white photograph of Jean Shrimpton in a white minidress at the races.
Lillian Frank styled the hair of Jean Shrimpton when the model broke with fashion conventions to wear a mini-dress to the Melbourne Spring Carnival in the 1960s.(Vogue)

Ms Frank continued to sit as a judge for the Melbourne racing season’s fashion events for several years.

A philanthropist, Ms Frank was made a Member of the Order of Australia and a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her charity and community work.

‘A big loss to Melbourne’

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) paid tribute to Ms Frank, highlighting her impact on the fashion of the Melbourne Cup, where she served as a longtime judge of Myer Fashions on the Field.

“Lillian left an indelible mark on the Melbourne Cup Carnival, where she attended nearly every year for 50 years,” VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said.

“Her impeccable sense of style and vibrant personality helped elevate the VRC’s Fashions on the Field competition to one of the most popular and prestigious outdoor fashion events in Australia, if not the world.”

Food critic and weekend ABC broadcaster Matt Preston recalled her “real lust for life” and adventure.

“[She was] such a feature of Melbourne when I started writing about food, she was a great person to sit with and eat with,” he said.

“It’s sad news and my thoughts go out to all the family and everyone who knew her.

“She’s a big loss to Melbourne.”

Fashion designer Alex Perry was among those to pay tribute on social media, writing the late philanthropist would be “shining down” forever.

Fellow designer Toni Maticevski remembered her as a “bloody amazing woman” who brought “sparkle and smiles to everyone”.

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