At 2 PM on Wednesday afternoon I receive a frantic text message: “Nat! I’ve had a massive night!! Can we shoot later please?” I was prepared for a disruptive turn of events. Mimi Xu is a professional DJ and her life style is anything but predictable. I show up at her doorstep three hours later. “I don’t look that great right now as you can imagine,” she apologizes while combing her hair. And that’s where it gets kind of disturbing. Mimi went to bed at 9 AM but she looks like she just walked out of a 10-hour spa session. Her skin is luminescent, her eyes bright and clear and her smile sparkly. She’s a bundle of energy compared to my sorry, camera-shlepping self. “I eat very healthy, moisturize my skin a lot, sleep as much as I can and I guess vodka is a good preservative…” she explains without blinking. Hmmm… I’ve tried that. Doesn’t work on a white girl.
Mimi has been staying with her parents for the past couple of months so we are shooting at her ex-boyfriend’s place; Lars is also her manager. It’s her third shoot there this week – sorry Lars… She bought some properties in Paris as investments, and is renovating them. “I am in transition right now but I enjoy being back at my parents’. It’s the only chance they get to see me. But also, luckily they travel even more than I do. So we just run into each other.” Mimi is 34-years old and has been DJing as Misty Rabbit for 8 years. “I started working at a music label (called Modular) after being a fashion editor when I lived in Sydney. My then-boyfriend had the most amazing record collection and decks at home. I learned to DJ old school style, on vinyl. When I moved back to Paris, more and more people, clubs and brands asked me to play and it has become a full-time job.” And while New York is inundated with the Leighs and Harleys, Europe has its Mimi. In the past months she played the Acne party in Bergen – “They certainly can drink in Norway!!” – the Miu Miu party in Shanghai – “phenomenal!” – and the Moncler party at Remo Ruffini’s house in Lake Como – “gorgeous”.
Mimi’s style is not an obvious one. She calls herself an elegant tomboy with a touch of retro girl. She has an obsession with brogues, vintage handbags, rabbits and pinocchios. Because she rides a scooter her outfits have to be warm and comfortable but chic when she gets off. She just did a collaboration with Parisian label American Retro. She designed a warm, wooly trench coat for charity which has become her daily outdoor asset. She doesn’t believe in icons, rather swears by personal freedom. And she loves vintage. Her first piece was an oversized, leopard print and sequins sweater dress she wears to this day (and in one of the photos). “I used to shop a lot vintage,” she says. “It was my passion. But now, designers give me a lot of clothes so I have a serious storage issue and have to refrain myself from buying more. But if I do buy, it will be more in stores that don’t know about the treasures they got. I am not into in the expensive and already filtered vintage stores. For me it’s like a treasure hunt experience.”
So does she ever get tired of the life style? Her answer is a categoric “Nope! I love my life. I think I will be doing this until I’m 80. Then I’ll move to Thailand and get massages all day in the sun and turn really fat. Curiosity and challenges are what keep me excited. We only live once so let’s just got for it.”