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Marni & Helen Yu Kuo: On The Rocks at Barneys

Charming and quirky Marni and Helen Yu Kuo are a must-follow duo on Instagram (@hyu915) where they deliver some of our favorite daily screen-stopping moments. Whether scoping out a new art exhibit, savoring dumplings at off-the-beaten path restaurants, or hunting down old Céline accessories, this San Francisco-based style setter and her mini-me daughter have an aesthetic and flair all their own. We should also mention that Marni loves a dance party—girl after our own hearts!

The pair are frequent visitors to Barneys New York, San Francisco where they warmly greet their favorite sales staff and have a regular table at the newest Freds outpost. We met Helen and Marni for lunch and Margot Tenenbaum-inspired dress up session full of decadent diamonds, ladylike handbags, and more. Read on for a few Instagram tips from the ultimate pro Marni, work-life balance perspective from Helen, and their most treasured jewels. -Jenna Wise for The Stone Set

How did your journey to Instagram stardom begin?
Helen: I had a blog called “What Helen Wore Today” that documented my “daily” outfits but once I discovered Instagram, I instantly gravitated to the platform since it was easy to just post pics of my outfits.

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Then I got pregnant with Marni and the outfits became focused on maternity wear which grabbed the attention of other new moms-to-be. It was all pretty organic and word of mouth but definitely skyrocketed once Marni came into the scene. I started to post pics of #marniandme and #whatmarniworetoday. Marni has always been a happy-go-lucky spirit. I wanted to share her joy with the rest of the world and it seems to resonate with my followers.

Marni: Hmm stardom? What does that mean, Mama?

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What are the top five essentials to get the Marni look?
Helen:
1. An oversized coat
2. Gnome bonnet or beret
3. Gold initial necklace
4. Sneakers
5. Deadpan smile and a side eye

Marni:
1. My pointy hat
2. My camel coat
3. My Marni necklace
4. Dress
5. Sneakers

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How would you describe your personal style? What do you love about fashion?
Helen: Tomboy chic with a hint of fun. I love fashion because it’s the obvious and most powerful form of self-expression. For me, fashion is about wearing things that bring you confidence, joy, and comfort.

Marni: That’s a hard question. What is fashion? I like to wear comfortable clothes that look cool.

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Helen, what’s it like being a working mom in tech with a creative side project?
Helen: I came across an article where Jeff Bezos of Amazon advises folks to stop striving for “work-life balance” and instead to think of it as a circle. That really stuck with me. I love how my job in tech complements my family life and together both experiences help inspire my creative side.

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What are your favorite pieces in your jewelry box?
Helen: Right now it’s my Céline initial necklace and my vintage diamond ring that was worn by my grandma and passed onto me by my mom.

Marni: My Marni “M” necklace.

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What strikes your eye right now at Barneys?
Helen: Anything old Céline by Phoebe Philo and a Barneys shearling camel coat! I’m dreaming about this coat.
https://www.barneys.com/product/barneys-new-york-shearling-long-coat-505908631.html

Marni: The red framed Céline cat eye sunglasses

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How does living in San Francisco shape your style?
Helen: I love a good trench and San Francisco has the perfect weather to wear one all year round.

Marni: Umm, it’s maybe like a Gucci look style.

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What are your go-to Freds’ orders?
Helen: The chicken soup and fries!

Marni: The penne arrabbiata.

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Describe your dream day.
Helen: Going back to Naoshima Island with my family.

Marni: Dancing to “Smooth Criminal” with Michael Jackson.

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What are your three favorite things in the world?
Helen: Family, family, family.

Marni: My mommy, my daddy, and spaghetti.

What’s something about you no one knows?
Helen: I’m afraid of heights.

Marni: I had a vanishing twin.

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Finish the sentence: Diamonds are _______.
Helen: Instant mood lifters.

Marni: Shiny!

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Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set

This story is in partnership with Barneys New York.

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