Monday, May 2nd, 2011
with Matthew Campbell Laurenza
It’s shaping up to be a big year for Matthew Campbell Laurenza. The jewelry designer behind M.C.L Design is best known for his accessories that combine antique, eclectic looks with a modern twist. Early this year, he debuted his first handbag collection — a line of custom print clutches and leather evening bags – as well as his first men’s collection featuring sapphire encrusted cufflinks. Now, his glamorous statement accessories are most recently catching the attention of style maven and red-carpet mainstay, Blake Lively. Here, Laurenza talks about his earliest fashion memories, his inspirations, and his presence in Hollywood.
FashionSalade: What is your first fashion or design memory?
Matthew Campbell Laurenza: I am a classic movie buff and have been ever since I was a young kid. I believe that early exposure to the great fashion houses of the silver screen was most likely my earliest and most important fashion experience.
M.C.L is a lifestyle brand
FS: Do you remember any specific time when a certain material had an impact on you?
M.C.L: I consider myself an artist who loves to play with new mediums. For me the turn on is the creation process and less the actual material. I can say that any medium that lets me introduce colour gets bonus points towards being one of my favourites.
FS: What is your design mandate/philosophy?
M.C.L: To design works of art which can be used to express ones personality.
FS: What is your design process?
M.C.L: I think of a concept and sketch it out. Once the design has been completed, a wax model is made and any additional embellishments are added in this stage. When the wax is completed it is then sent into production to make a silver master. In this process the piece undergoes extra detailing which cannot be applied when making in wax. After the silver master is completed it is sent into final production. The whole process from sketch to final sample takes 8 months.
FS: What is your favourite material to work with?
M.C.L: Anything that allows me to use colour.
FS: Your designs are heavily influenced by Asian and European styles, where do you think these styles have a place in North American fashion?
M.C.L: Good designs and beautiful styles will always have a place in Fashion. As humans I believe we want to express our individuality but we also want to do it with things that we consider beautiful. I find influence in things that are beautiful and awe inspiring and I try to use as many of these things as possible in my work.
FS: What other influences inspire your work?
M.C.L: My customers always have a say in my work. They are a major muse for me. Traveling and meeting different people, I have seen so many interesting viewpoints on how to wear and use jewelry. These viewpoints have proven to be invaluable when new collections come into being.
FS: Many celebrities have worn your pieces, such as Jennifer Hudson, Blake Lively and Selena Gomez. Who is the Matthew Campbell Laurenza woman?
M.C.L: An M.C.L woman is a woman who is free spirited, confident, and willing to make a statement when they walk into a room.
FS: What’s it been like to have such Hollywood heavy-hitters wear your pieces?
M.C.L: I really enjoy seeing people wear my jewelry especially when they have fun with it. It really is an honor when celebrities pick the pieces to wear as they have a lot of options in the marketplace.
FS: If you could choose any celebrity to wear your jewelry, who would you pick and why?
M.C.L: I love to see anyone wearing my jewelry as it ii confirmation that I did something that related to that individual. They do not need to be famous. But if they are to be a celebrity I want them to be comfortable with their fame and down to earth. I really love the fact that Jennifer Hudson is wearing my work. I really respect her and from all accounts she seems really grounded and comfortable with her fame and newfound position in popular culture.
FS: What would you say was your big break?
M.C.L: Having parents who supported me and who made me experiment and try new things.
FS: Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
M.C.L: M.C.L is a lifestyle brand. In five years we will have branched out to include concept stores which will stock, housewares, accessories and fine art.
Interview by Amanda Wenek