We recently wandered the snowy streets of New York with our friend, photographer and DJ Leslie Kirchhoff, turning the tables and putting her in front of the lens. She usually spends her days going from behind a camera to behind a DJ booth—the kind of nonstop routine that requires her style to go, quite literally, from day to night. Her solution? Low-key dresses and lots of denim, all with a ’90s undertone—an outfit MO we can get down with.
Kirchhoff’s interest in photography started early: Growing up in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, she began snapping photos with a disposable camera as a child. “I remember almost falling off a dock into a lake once because I was trying so hard to capture the water at the right angle,” Kirchhoff says, recalling a family vacation. “I was really focused on getting the right light.” She was eight.
A decade later, she moved to New York for college. An art internship at vogue.com turned into an actual job—“I begged until my boss agreed to let me do a test shoot covering a party”—and soon she started zooming in on famous partygoing faces, including Pharrell Williams, Solange Knowles and Joan Smalls, and snapping shots at famous events like Coachella, Lollapalooza and backstage at New York Fashion Week.
Since late-night revelry is quite picturesque, there’s something natural about Kirchhoff finding herself behind a DJ booth come sundown. Night owls can dance to Kirchhoff’s “disco-dancey-rocky” playlists on Fridays at Hotel Americano, where she’s the DJ-in-residence.
Both on and off duty, Kirchhoff’s style is always “simple, tomboyish and a little bit rock and roll,” which means denim plays a starring role. She pairs skinny jeans with ’90s staples like flat-bill hats, plaid flannel shirts and graphic tees. She’s a touchy-feely shopper, so she doesn’t often shop online. (Yes, there is a Madewell a few blocks from her Soho apartment.)