Bright neon accents, cool textural details and chunky hardware -- it may sound like a trend report for the Spring '12 season, but it also sums up the quirky-chic jewelry offerings from design duo Natalie Holst and Rochelle Lee, whose shared label, Holst + Lee, caused a miniature blog frenzy when it arrived in stock on Shopbop.com last week.
"We started making jewelry because we were always looking for that special piece that completed our outfits, or even just made the outfit.," explains Natalie, who first met Rochelle at Meatpacking District hot spot Pastis where they both worked as maitre d's. "Just wearing jeans and a t-shirt with one of our necklaces changes your whole look."
It's hard to deny that the necklaces -- fashioned, for the most part, from pieces of super-bright rope wrapped in silky thread -- make a major statement. "When we would wear our pieces to work, women would literally try and take the necklaces off our necks to see what they were," says Rochelle. "That's when we knew we were on to something."
Both coming from fashion backgrounds, the first Holst + Lee collection came about from an amalgam of leftover fabric, beads, and rope. "They became much more refined over time, but it was a very natural creation process. We both enjoy color and playing with texture. It is really about putting your own personality into a piece," explains Rochelle."
Last summer, the ladies gave their wares a test-run at the The Surf Lodge's hip on-site boutique, Surf Bazaar. Soon, though, they found the pieces "were selling faster than we could put them on the shelves."
Certainly, one draw is their exuberant, candy-colored palettes. "We are inspired by so many different things but we always tend to fall back on one common theme and that is the use of color," says Natalie. Overall, we kind of design for ourselves and what we would like to wear, which we think is the best way to stay true to your designs."
Happily, color will still play a crucial role in the forthcoming Fall '12 collection, though the girls say we can expect "jewel tones and darker, rich colors" as well as soft fringe accents.