Over-sized, over-stated, over-the-top and fabulous. Matthew Campbell Laurenza's jewelry designs resonate through a coterie of well-heeled Houstonians and are frequently worn on the red carpet by stars including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Hudson.
In Houston through Friday, the founder and designer of M.C.L is showcasing his wares at a number of events courtesy of Tootsies, where his collection is on display.
We visited with the youthful talent on Wednesday at an intimate luncheon benefit for the Children's Assessment Center in the Memorial swankienda of Kelli Weinzierl. While ladies including Lucinda Loya, Amy Lee and Bobbie Nau fairly swooned over the collection, Laurenza allowed that his designs are based on architecture and decorative arts.
"I've always been inspired by pieces of history, bric and brac on buildings, arts and crafts, art noveau and art deco," he said, adding that he would describe his pieces as "eclectic and colorful."
After graduating from college 19 years ago, Laurenza moved to Bangkok, what he calls "the gem capital of the world for colored stones."
With price points surprisingly friendly for such glam, Laurenza explains, "I oversee the production, I do all the design so everything is linear as far as cost."
While it's always a thrill to see his designs on the red carpet, Laurenza says that it makes him most happy to see someone on the street wearing one of his pieces. "It means they liked it enough to buy it," he beamed.
There were plenty of ladies buying during the Wednesday event and that was good news for CAC. Tootsies is donating 10 percent of all sales to the nonprofit that works to prevent sexual child abuse.
Lunching ladies included Kelley Lubanko who chaired last spring's CAC luncheon with Weinzierl, plus DeeDee Marsh, Nanette Finger, Marti Finger, Kiki Wilson, Ursaline Hamilton, Shelley Reeves, Susan Sarofim, Tiffany Wong, and Fay Zakhem.