Just about this time last year I put together a list of six jewelry designers I predicted would become huge in 2017. All of them had major success in their own unique ways, but none quite had the meteoric rise of Matthew Harris who works under the name Mateo. Rihanna, Solange and Zendaya were among the celebrities who discovered and wore his jewelry. The designer from Montego Bay also became a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist. A process he compared to getting an MBA in the intense demands of the competition where he went up against fashion and accessories designers.
The CFDA competition included lots of spectacular exposure to the press and photos of his work for a variety of publications. While the minimalist designer, who is inspired by mid-century masters Calder and Kandinsky, may not have won the prize, his jewels truly stood out at all the events and shoots. He presented an unforgettable show during New York Fashion Week on the roof of The Roxy Hotel where models in simple slip dresses posed in his jewelry and a classical violinist provided accompaniment to the scene. The designer’s lighthearted side came shining through in CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Instagram Challenge “A Day in The Life of Mateo.” Perhaps the most dazzling image from the competition was a photo by Greg Harris published in the November issue of Vogue showing Mateo clutching hands with Karlie Kloss.
This week I went to visit Mateo at his boutique in the NoLita neighborhood of New York and find out how he was going to follow-up his stellar year. While there is lots of excitement in the months to come, what I discovered was his passion for his clients. The 32-year old has kept the prices of his jewelry, that’s all manufactured in New York City, affordable making it a fun self-purchase. The pieces range from $98 for studs to around $3,000 for a pair of diamond and pearl Mobile Earrings. And there are lots of beautiful things between the high and low.
As women came in and out of the chic jewel box sized black and white boutique during my visit, Mateo graciously greeted them all. Several were already clients coming to look at new things or just say, “Hello.” Mateo’s delight in hearing how they were enjoying their jewels and his pleasure in showing them new creations made me realize, that beyond all the glamour 2017 has brought to his experience, it was his enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of the day-to-day that guaranteed his future was going to continue to be very bright.