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Tuesday, February 28th 2012

On Design: Holst + Lee’s Natalie Holst & Rochelle Lee

Designers Rochelle Lee and Natalie Holst.

Designed by Southern-born, Brooklyn-based designers Natalie Holst and Rochelle Lee, Holst + Lee jewelry is an unlikely blend of techno and tribal that is nothing short of eye-catching. The duo brilliantly mixes neon shades and unique textures, crafting pieces that play to the season’s love affair with all things bright and beautiful. We talked with the designers about building a brand together, collaborating with Mara Hoffman and Cut 25, and what’s on the horizon for their self-named label.

Shopbop: Tell us about how and why you decided to launch Holst + Lee together.
Natalie Holst & Rochelle Lee: We met in NYC as transplants from the South. Instantly friends, we found that our love of fashion and art was mutual. We had both always wanted to start our own lines and the collaboration between the two of us grew very organically. We started making jewelry just for ourselves because we always felt like we were unable to find what we were looking for to complete our outfits. At the time, we were both running very high-end, very trendy restaurants and clubs, and part of our job was to look put-together and a bit edgy and hip. Our accessories allowed us to express ourselves with the bold use of color and texture, and we quickly noticed that women literally wanted to rip the necklaces off our necks, which is when we knew we were on to something.

SB: You work with found objects in your designs. What made you decide to take this direction?
NH & RL: We both had boxes and boxes full of things we had collected over the years. One day we decided to take everything we had—beads, ropes, brooches, fabric, you name it—and dumped it on a big table and literally dove in and started creating. Over time, our designs became much more refined, but this organic way of designing was how the whole thing started. I’m sure you all have a junk drawer in your house and you always wonder what you’re going to do with all that stuff. Well, invite a friend over and combine them, and you never know!

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