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Teen Spirit

It's been more than a decade since her dad and mom, aka Kurt and Courtney, pioneered grunge, so who can blame thirteen-year-old Frances Bean Cobain for just wanting to dress up in girly, pretty things?

Photographed by Nick Haymes

"I don't like to look sloppy," says Frances Bean Cobain. "I'm a girly-girl." Never mind that her parents, singer and actress Courtney Love and the late Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain, pioneered the messy look as fashion statement, or that their style, better known as grunge, came to define an era. The sort of outfit Frances prefers, "a pretty skirt or nice jeans, basically something that matches or coordinates," stands in marked contrast to the baby-doll dresses, snagged tights, ripped jeans, and carelessly tossed-on flannels once worn by her mom and dad. "I'm a different person," Frances emphasizes. "I don't want to be titled as Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain's daughter. I want to be thought of as Frances Cobain."

With that goal in mind, the seventh-grader has devised her own decidedly un-grunge way of dressing. "I love feminine pieces," she says. "My favorite color is light pink. I also like baby blue because it brings out my eyes" (which are that startling shade of Cobain-blue). As you might expect from the daughter of the famously outspoken Love, Frances - or "Frannie" as friends call her - knows exactly what she likes: "My favorite
jeans are True Religion; they're comfy, cool, and just fit right." In the designer realm, Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, Intuition and Ya Ya also earn her praise. And Coach gets top billing for purses and shoes. Like mom, Frances loves to shop. In Los Angeles, where she lives and attends school, she hits Malibu's Planet Blue, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom. Though she keeps it casual for school, she'll wear a lacy dress and heels to special events. Among her fashion influences she cites Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman, actresses known for a certain old-Hollywood glamour. Of course, Frances is no stranger to the red carpet style. She's attended multiple movie premieres and awards shows. "My favorite was Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," she enthuses. "I wore this white silk Betsey Johnson gown with roses sewn across the top." Not surprisingly, she was a fan of her mother's own glamorous makeover several years ago. (Think the blonde bob and goddess-like white Versace dress Love stepped out in at 1997's Oscars). "I prefer when she's more classy starlet," says Frances. "I don't really like her hard-metal stuff, or when she doesn't brush her hair."

Protestations and appliqued roses aside, there are indicators Frances is very much her mother's daughter. For one, she clearly acquired the acting and singing genes. Having just finished playing Rizzo in a Los Angeles theatre company's rendition of Grease, she's gearing up to audition for Fiddler on the Roof. She also arrives at the Teen Vogue shoot sporting a long, faded Rolling Stones t-shirt - "more rock 'n' roll than I usually dress," she maintains - and a very Love-like necklace, a diamond angel wing on a black string, which was a gift from her mother.

And though she may not follow Love's fashion path, she does follow her motto: "She tells me to 'live free and be free, but listen to other people's advice.'" True to character, Frances puts her own spin on it. "I listen," she says, "but I don't always follow it."


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