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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Katie Knapp Littlefield talks hazel and marie, style, and a little bit of shanghai

My good friend Sara while living in Shanghai bought me this fun onyx disco ball necklace for my birthday from Hazel and Marie. Sara told me that Katie, one of the designers from Hazel and Marie was coming to New York to do some trunk shows and I figured this was a good chance to squeeze in a little q&a with Katie. Check out what Katie had to say about Hazel and Marie, Shanghai style, and her personal style.

Where are you currently living in Asia? And why?

I am living in the Luwan District of central Shanghai, China. We are stationed there but travel back to the states a few times a year and are planning annual trips to our showroom in Germany as well as globally building our business.After over 5 years of living in Asia I still find surprises and see its growth potential. I believe that China especially has lots of opportunity and that over the last 10 years it has increased its quality in products to be the best in the world. I think the combination of opportunity, growth and quality is what has led a lot of designers to start businesses in Asia.

How would you describe the style there?

I would say that like anywhere it varies, I think that people are wanting to dress better and beginning to learn more about fashion. The socialites of China have a sophisticated hipster style and still focus on purchasing the big well known international brands leaving the style to be described as just; expensive. However the younger generation of students are branching out and learning how to create their own style which strongly reflects trends
in Japan, Korea and the US.

Ok so lets start talking about Hazal & Marie. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?

Our designs have always combined a variety of inspiration. Most of our designs are inspired by vintage costume jewelry found at antique stores, in our family jewelry box or designed by famous designers who first branded their pieces including Miriam Haskel and Coco Chanel. Our other forms of inspiration come from trends in

fashion and design.

How did you and your partner meet?
Tori and I met in Shanghai at a mutual friend from New York’s black tie farewell party. We first connected with an interest in developing brands and doing an exercise in entrepreneurship. We later grew to be great business partners and friends.

You specialize in pearls, why did you choose pearls specifically?

We work with pearls for many reasons but the most important is because they are natural, versatile, classic and something that can be passed down to the next generation. They can be dark black and baroque or white and round which allows you to design pearl jewelry which works for everyone’s style. I also think the are the quintessential piece that every woman can afford andwear on a daily basis.

How would you describe the type of girl that would wear Hazel and Marie?

Hazel & Marie Pearls are not your grandmothers pearls. Over the last few years working with pearls and some very stylish and loyal clients we have found that creating designs that compliment and dress up already well styled looks is our goal. Our best and most loyal clients are 24-40 year olds who appreciate quality and design. Their styles range from preppy to hipster but each have a classic twist compliment by one to eight strands of pearls. They also tend to be gracious gift givers, giving pearls to their friends and family for special events and holidays.

What is your favorite piece to wear in your collection?

I am always wearing La Riveria, which is 40’’ of our biggest and most luscious round, baroque pearls with a unique matte luster. You can double it up or wear it long– perfect for sunning on a yacht or lunching with the ladies. I am wearing it in the photo with Tori attached!Recently I have also been wearing the Signature Twist in black pearls and the Float Away With Me for its sophistic simplicity.

Whats your number 1 accessory when getting dressed in the morning?

Definitely giant pearl studs from our LUXE Collection, I can’t leave the house without them.

When it comes to fashion how would you describe your style?

My style is sophisticated and breezy pairing formal and casual clothes with a mix of classic and vintage accessories. Since im literally always working (which requires always wearing pearls) I try to tone down my professional look with bright colors, crisp patterns and playful accessories. I have also found that all dresses are great for leading a busy life, office to evening events.

Who is your favorite designer at the moment?

Some designers that I have always loved include Trina Turk, Tibi, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Milly, and Alexis Bittar many of whom have inspired some of our pieces. Some current accessory designers I like include Kara Ross and Alex Soldier local Shanghai based designers.

check out the website at


  1. WHOA!!!!! AMAZING.

  2. I've been hearing really good things about Hazel and Marie...



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