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Frances Bean Cobain Is Marc Jacobs’s Latest Muse

Even though she has just been announced as the latest face of Marc Jacobs and is rapidly racking up likes on the designer’s Instagram page, don’t expect Frances Bean Cobain to join the legions of celebrity children turned professional models. “I don’t think I’ll be modeling for anybody else for a very long time—this is 100 percent outside my comfort zone,” says Cobain on the phone from Los Angeles. “I wouldn’t have done it with anyone other than Marc.”

As the daughter of rock legends Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Cobain comes with a style cachet that brands have been eager to harness. Though approached over the years by various labels hoping to enlist her for endorsements, she turned down each offer until longtime supporter Jacobs came calling.

“I don’t model unless I think the project is cool, and I don’t put my name behind something that I don’t genuinely believe in,” says Cobain. “I thought this collection was great, and I was flattered that Marc thought of me for this. What I said to Marc when I was saying yes was that he’s an underdog for the masses. He’s still very rebellious within the fashion world, and he’s been like that his entire career.”

Though the Marc Jacobs brand has a long-held reputation for featuring unexpected talents—iconoclasts ranging from artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge to director Lana Wachowski have participated in the seasonal group ads—Cobain’s images mark the first time in four years a single face has represented the label. Seizing the opportunity as a chance to bring real-girl sensibility to the idealized world of luxury ads, Cobain didn’t attempt to be anyone but herself. “I’m not representing the beautiful top models of the world,” she says. “I’m representing what a general, standard, average human girl would look like wearing these clothes. I think that’s why Marc picked me for this.”

In keeping with the theme of authenticity, the ads, shot by David Sims, stand in sharp contrast to the psychedelic looks seen on the runway. “The fashion show itself was so colorful, but it was the complete opposite of what we ended up doing on the set,” says Cobain. “The shoot had a very organic feel—all the makeup was my own. We used the lipstick from right out of my purse, and no one did anything to my hair. They just put me in the clothes.” She bonded with Sims behind the scenes over a book about Marjorie Cameron and the on-set music selection and says the atmosphere put her at ease. “I have so much respect for David; he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He and Marc created an environment in which I felt like I was thriving and enjoying myself.”

The fact that designers like Jacobs are willing to trust in Cobain’s perspective speaks to her status as a tastemaker, but she’s far from fussy where clothes are concerned. “I honestly don’t care very much. I’m a black jeans, vintage T-shirt, boots girl. That is my daily uniform,” she says. “I can appreciate fashion without having to let it consume me or [feeling the need] to be part of that world. In my personal life, I’m just lazy about it.”

Fashion’s current obsession with ’90s nostalgia gets a hard pass. “I don’t fucking care what they did in the ’90s; I wasn’t around and it’s not relevant to me,” she says. Cobain was born in 1992. “Yes, the ’90s were influential, for sure, but it’s just not my cup of tea. When it’s shoved down your throat every day for 24 years, you just stop caring.” The irony of the runways’ love affair with grunge—a look her parents helped to popularize and one that Jacobs showed in the luxury space with his now famous Spring 1993 Perry Ellis collection—isn’t lost on her either. “I find it interesting where grunge originated from, and then where it was taken, which was high fashion,” says Cobain. “My dad was so poor that they kept going to Goodwill to get donated ripped jeans. It wasn’t a fashion decision; it was an ‘I don’t have any money, I have no other choice’ type of decision.”

As far as any notion of her own role within the industry, Cobain expects the Jacobs campaign will stand as a cherished memory rather than represent a career shift. “I could never do [modeling] professionally, but I’m glad I did it with Marc, because I trust him,” says Cobain, a visual artist. Though she remains coy about her next move, she is certain it involves something more stimulating than posing in front of the camera. “Thankfully I have other skills than just standing there and looking cute.”