Last week, the entire blogosphere stopped en masse to stare with wonder and exhilaration at a young woman named Frances Bean Cobain, who looked defiantly out of shots done by designer/photographer Hedi Slimane. Today, we received another batch of Frances Bean images, this time from Los Angeles photographer (and friend) Rocky Schenck. The shoots could not be more different: Slimane's are rough and stark, while Schenck's show Frances as a glamorous, slightly tortured beauty. Loosely tied hair, pouting lips, vintage outfits instead of ripped and torn T-shirts. Though not channeling her rocker history, these pictures are just as alluring.
Frances Bean, unlike her counterparts Jagger or Osbourne or Leon, is a relative unknown. Sure, there was her parents' infamy and the Kurt Cobain tragedy, but we don't see her in the Page Sixes and gossip magazines...as strangely familiar as her face may be. How did this young thing pass us by? Why did we not notice her blossoming into a beauty or get to ogle her awkward teen stage? And how did her mother, Courtney Love, the mistress of very publicly courting drama, shield Miss Cobain from the ills of fame?
Perhaps it is because the heritage of Frances Bean is as authentic rock and roll as it gets. Hers is, perhaps, the most real and pure rock star tale of all: born into a legacy that we all know and she never really will. But we are officially enraptured, not just because of who she is, but because she looks as if she has the capability to handle it. After all, she perfectly resembles the halfway point between her sensitive dad (those eyes!) and her volatile and fascinating mom (that daring face!).
Apparently Frances is wearing all of her own clothes in this shoot, picking from her own closet for her style. Frances handpicked Schenck, who is known for doing lush, vintage-inspired portraits of rock icons like The Cramps or Joni Mitchell. Gone is the stark and punk Frances; here is a Frances more romantic and sensual, but nonetheless enigmatic.
To be sure, FBC does not look exactly like the poster girl of a happy childhood. She still has a melancholy, bruised look and large, watering eyes. She is constantly smoking, covered in tattoos (in Slimane's shoot) and facing the camera in blunt, sad honesty.
Here Frances looks fragile but not pissed off about it; charmingly girlish and flushed. In a pink lacy bustier and with tendrils (literal, actual tendrils) curling down her face, she looks a far cry from the Princess of Grunge.
The fact that she can oscillate from tortured punk to camera-ready movie star in two shoots is fantastically revealing: She is, without her last name or mother's taste for fashion, an incredibly beautiful girl. This Thursday, Frances Bean turns 19, and here's hoping her birthday will mark a new, more public stage in the blossoming ingenue's life.