The late Nirvana frontman’s daughter is latest celebrity kid with a fashion gig
Teenage angst still pays out well, especially if you’re a Cobain.
Frances Bean Cobain, the 24-year-old daughter of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and singer Courtney Love, was recently named the face of Marc Jacobs. Cobain, who will front advertisements for the LVMH-controlled brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, is the latest in a string of celebrity kids who have snagged glamorous jobs in the fashion world.
Those with a famous last name have, of course, always had an edge over everyone else. As Marc Jacobs noted in an Instagram post announcing the campaign on Jan 25, he first met Cobain when she was two years old and her mom’s plus-one at a dinner with fashion designer Anna Sui. That’s the kind of introduction that an 18-year-old struggling to pay for modeling classes could kill for.
“At the end of the day, everybody is trying to make money, so why not go with what you know works?” says Jaclyn Sarka of Jag Models, an agency that has placed its models on the covers of Elle and Vogue.
Jacobs surely hopes that picking Cobain pays off. While LVMH doesn’t generally provide results for individual brands, chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault reportedly said in a recent earnings call that Marc Jacobs was the only LVMH fashion brand in the red and that he was “more worried about Marc Jacobs” than U.S. President Donald Trump, whose tax cutting plans may prove a boost to the luxury goods company.
But lately, offspring of bold-faced names have been fending off charges of nepotism. Teenager Brooklyn Beckham, soccer legend David’s son, faced the brickbats after being invited by Burberry to shoot the U.K. brand’s fragrance campaign last year. Jaden Smith was also panned after he appeared in dad Will’s movies. Some critics also note that—the Smiths aside—the favoritism just leads to the progeny of white celebrities taking over their parents’ places.
For instance, social media stars Gigi Hadid, now a supermodel in her own right, and Bella Hadid were raised by Yolanda Hadid, a former model who appeared on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Reality TV stars Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner have developed a family social media franchise.
But at a time when social media is the lifeblood of fashion branding, Beckham’s elevation could be understood. The then-16 year old has over 9 million followers on Instagram and live images of the shoot were posted across social media. Jaden Smith rapped and starred in numerous films before appearing in a skirt for Louis Vuitton.
Cobain, by contrast, isn’t that well known for her art. Her prints sell for a relatively inexpensive $200 on her website and she counts around 530,000 followers on Twitter. She recently hit headlines due to a dispute with her ex-husband over possession of the guitar that Kurt Cobain reportedly used on his famous 1993 “MTV Unplugged” appearance.
To be sure, being the daughter of a grunge legend also jives well with Jacobs, who was famously fired from Perry Ellis in the early 1990s after showing a collection deemed too grungy. While he has most recently used big names like Miley Cyrus and Missy Elliott as muses, Jacobs has also picked more esoteric names like transgender director Lana Wachowski and the gender-bending artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
That said, Cobain greeted her new partnership with Jacobs by telling Vogue that her father’s flannel shirt chic wasn’t her “cup of tea.”
That may precisely be her appeal. “Marc Jacobs does his own thing, so maybe when social media is so big, he’s going with someone out of the box,” Sarka says.
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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