Nero Ip works alongside flower artist Kirk Cheng to build flower installations for luxury brands and hotels, and since 2020, he’s been a private chef, cooking Chinese cuisine at people’s homes as #Nerokitchen.
Together, they share a love of rings, brooches and luxury accessories. The couple have keen eyes for elegance with a surprising playfulness about them and tell us all about the joys of dressing up.
When did you first meet and how long have you been together?
Julien-Loïc Garin (JLG): We’re not entirely sure, because we’ve been in Hong Kong and have known each other for a long time. What we think we remember is that we were introduced by friends during Art Week in 2016. We met again in May 2018, and that’s when we started dating.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Nero Ip (NI): Julien was always so dressed up. He could wear a full suit on a hot summer’s day without breaking a sweat. He’d wear cashmere and loafers on a hike. He’s stylish all the time.
JLG: I think our style has evolved through age and through the relationship. I remember Nero was always a cool boy. Not super branded, which is what I like, but he wore very cool designer items and had a younger style.
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How would you describe your style, and what do you enjoy about each other’s?
JLG: I’d say it's casual chic. Most of the time I like to dress up. I like to have an occasion to wear a nice jacket, nice loafers and matching accessories. I’m very European in my style. Now that I’m involved with jewellery, I’m inclined to wear more brooches and match my rings with different outfits.
NI: I’d call myself smart casual—I always like to put on a shirt. I also like to be playful and throw on fun accessories, like trendy sneakers that Julien doesn’t understand. I still like to be the cool kid, and not take myself too seriously.
JLG: To keep me young!
NI: Yes, to keep us young.
JLG: Nero highlighted the right word before—I think he’s very playful with his outfits. I like a look that is coherent from head to toe with colour coordination, whereas Nero will throw on an unexpected accessory. He recently bought a Louis Vuitton chain with an eraser pendant. It doesn’t erase anything, but you can turn it into a brooch or a pendant. It’s a touch of fun, it starts a conversation, and that’s something I really appreciate about him. It’s joyful.
NI: I like how Julien plays with colour. He loves to be very coordinated, from his pocket square, to scarf, to his socks—everything. He’s most happy when he pulls off a perfectly colour coordinated outfit. And it’s fun! He inspires me to wear more fun shades together.
Why did colour coordination become such an important aspect of your dressing?
JLG: In 2006, I worked for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Yves Saint Laurent was a master of colour—especially with the way he would create unusual combinations. That’s when it struck me that the use of colour could be so important. Colour influences mood, so I really believe that what I choose in the morning will set the tone for the day. Yellow, my favourite, is vibrant and lively. If you want something more peaceful, opt for purple shades. I love to be able to put different colours together and creating something nice to look at—it’s kind of like painting, although it’s a bit pretentious to say that. [laughs]
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