Well. It’s a good thing Elle Fanning is only 19, because to pull off wearing the Head Table centerpiece for someone’s expensive wedding, you need to be a fresh-faced nymph. I’m torn about whether I like it, though. This ENTIRE cover is extremely on-the-nose. She’s in bloom! It’s the summer of roses! Vogue has a flower! Elle is wearing flowers! On her dress! ON HER HEAD! SHE IS A YOUNG BUD IN THE GARDEN OF LIFE! Etc. That’s either admirably committed or boringly repetitive, and I can’t decide which.
The image is similarly divisive within my own head. In the pro column, it’s all very Fashion-with-a-capital-F, and I cannot stop staring at it. However, on the con side, this photo ALSO looks like a deeply unamused model who, in between stringing ribbons on a maypole and basting mutton legs and pretending to joust with a shirtless dude, just wanted enjoy ONE peaceful, private goddamn smoke break.
The interview itself is charming enough; she comes off exactly as she is: A nice, lively kid — I have friends who’ve taught her, and while they don’t tell tales, they did share that she’s both very bright and extremely friendly — who has had an unlikely life. How unlikely? Consider these two Vogue passages, which would render almost anyone totally unreachable:
She’s dressed in an elegant red Céline turtleneck top, black Balenciaga rockabilly denim, and Maison Margiela sneakers with sparkling buckles. She doffs her tiny Gucci purse and slides into a chair by French doors that open out onto the street.
It’s a warm, clear day, and Fanning is dressed for spring: a lovely, full, white shoulderless dress by The Row, sandals by Chanel, a big white Rochas bag. As we step into the sunlight, she pulls a blue-and-pink Chanel sweater over her shoulders.
I’m a middle-aged crone and I can’t rattle off even ONE of those labels as it pertains to my own closet. It’s a risk to make Elle seem about the labels by listing them this way, one by one, but then again: It folds surprisingly well into the piece, in which Fanning herself says her star charts revealed a person of opposites, of contradictions. Those showy labels, and that seemingly meticulously expensive everyday dressing, do both clash with the sunny relatability she displays at other times (as does the tale of her not wanting to let down a long-planned Prom date because of Cannes, so they just went there together instead in their Prom garb). If I were 19, she’d probably be the effortlessly perfect and popular girl that I would WANT to hate, but could not, because she’s just NICE. It’s interesting, and I’m eager to hear your take.