MEET MIMI XU: MUSIC EXTRAORDINAIRE

Posted on August 20, 2012

With impeccable style, an infectious personality and a 10-year career doing exactly what she loves, Mimi Xu, aka DJ Misty Rabbit is one of the coolest women we’ve met in quite sometime. Aside from managing her own record company, publishing a Parisian music magazine and spinning the decks at some of the world’s chicest clubs and festivals, Mimi has also established herself as a fashion-soundtrack extraordinaire (yes, we’re in awe too). Having already provided show tracks for the likes of Acne, Prada, Vanessa Bruno and Mary Katrantzou, as well as playing at fashion parties from Miu Miu in Shanghai to Versace in Milan, she’s now set to smash the Topshop Unique SS13 catwalk with her very own sound…

Until then, here’s an exclusive sneak peek into the woman behind the music:

So Mimi, where are you from?

I was originally born in Beijing but moved to Paris when I was 3, though I lived in Copenhagen for 3 years as well. My parents traveled a lot for work so I’ve always had a desire to keep moving – it’s in my blood! These days, I divide my time between London and Paris, and then anywhere else my job takes me…!

How did you get into DJing?

I was living in Sydney at the time (I told you I loved to travel!) and my then boyfriend was the music director of a really cool record company, so you can imagine his record collection! I started playing for fun using old school vinyl and then when I moved back to Paris, I began playing in more and more clubs and it pretty much took off from there. Now, I’m moving more into the music production side for film scoring and fashion shows.

Was music always something that you wanted to pursue?

Always! I actually started out in fashion journalism but kept finding myself going back to music – I guess it’s my first love! My father is an acoustic architect so I grew up playing the piano and listening to lots of classical music and jazz; it was a very music-orientated childhood and definitely gave me a taste for sound. These days I like all genres of music, as long as they’re good! So it could be hip hop or soul, to disco, techno, indie and rock – I’m definitely an obsessive, compulsive music collector! I have about 20 blogs that I visit daily and have started writing my own music too. When it comes to music, it’s pretty much a 24/7 situation!

What are the top 5 tracks on your playlist right now?

I did a search recently and found my 5 favourite Mimi related songs.
1) “Mimi” by Al Green
2) “Mimi” by Frank Sinatra
3) “Mimi” by Jean Claude Vannier
4) “Mimi on The Beach” by Jane Siberry
5)”Si Mi chiamano Mimi” from the Opera “La Bohème” by Giacomo Puccini

So where would we find you on the decks?

I do lots of festivals in France (Soulwaxmas, Calvi on the Rocks, Vous êtes des Animaux with Mr Oizo etc.) and Paris clubs like Social Club, Le Baron, and Montana but mainly I play for big fashion events like Versace in Milan, Miu Miu in Shanghai, Acne and Prada in NYC, Fendi in Paris and Karl Lagerfeld in Florence!

How did you get into music for the fashion industry?

I’ve been doing it for 3 to 4 years now but never took it too seriously at first as I was more focused on my DJing back then, but with time I started to notice that there were a lot of tracks much better suited to film or shows. It’s been such an exciting discovery and has opened up a whole new research platform for me. I love collaborating with the designers – transforming their needs and concepts into music and bringing it to another level.

Can you describe the process for us?

It all depends on the designer, but usually we start with an initial meeting to discuss what the collection is about, seeing the mood board etc and from there I’ll come up with lots of different songs. Next, we’ll sit and have a listening session together and feed off each other’s ideas until we’re happy with the direction the track should go in.

Do you have a favourite designer to collaborate with?

I love Mary Katrantzou, she’s and amazing and so hands on with the music. When you send her tracks, she really listens to them and can tell me exactly to the second, which segment she wants for the soundtrack – she’s a very precise listener, which makes her a dream to work with.

What’s exciting you about producing the soundtrack for our Unique SS13 show?

I love creating something that no one has heard of before and try to never use anything too current as then it’s already too late – I’m always either looking back or ahead to now.

How do you spend your time in London?

London is my sanctuary! My work is basically the party scene so when I come here I just love to chill out, listen to music, watch cooking shows – I’m a total foodie! Being French-Chinese, we basically grew up eating and just talked about food constantly so I have a real passion for it.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m definitely a tomboy but with a touch of femininity and I always try to balance the silhouette so it never looks too over the top.

Do you have any style icons?

I love that real iconic, seventies silhouette, so all the old-school French actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac. Movies tend to be my main inspiration when it comes to fashion but I also look to designers, especially Lanvin and Mary Katrantzou.

And finally, if you weren’t a DJ, what do you think you’d be doing?

I think I’d be a chef! I love pro-Asian food whether it’s Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean… they each have such diverse flavours. I’d love to come up with a great concept for a restaurant, maybe something healthy and organic mixed with Asian, who knows it could be the new Nandos!

Don’t forget to keep checking our blog every Monday and Wednesday for an insider view to see what the Topshop Unique team are up to in the run up to our SS13 show! If you’re following us on  Twitter make sure you look out for #Topshop Unique and if you’re on Instagram, don’t forget to follow us @Topshop.

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Very inspiring read!


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