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.
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?
What are the top five essentials to get the Marni look?
1. An oversized coat
2. Gnome bonnet or beret
3. Gold initial necklace
5. Deadpan smile and a side eye
1. My pointy hat
2. My camel coat
3. My Marni necklace
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marni: The red framed Céline cat eye sunglasses
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.
What are your go-to Freds’ orders?
Helen: The chicken soup and fries!
Marni: The penne arrabbiata.
Describe your dream day.
Helen: Going back to Naoshima Island with my family.
Marni: Dancing to “Smooth Criminal” with Michael Jackson.
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.
Finish the sentence: Diamonds are _______.
Helen: Instant mood lifters.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set
This story is in partnership with Barneys New York.