The setting: the gilded ballroom of Claridge's hotel in London. The soundtrack: Jello Biafra howling California Über Alles. And thus, somewhere between august tradition and hell-raising angst, were the goalposts defined for the London debut of Marc Jacobs' Marc by Marc collection. The ostensible inspiration for the locale was the
opening of Jacobs' first boutique in the city, but the showing also gave the designer an opportunity to flex the creative muscle his constant dialogue between America and Europe has helped him develop. In the
past, this collection has tended to reflect a collegiate funkiness. This time around, there was a striking mash-up of Seattle and Tyrol, with an overlying collar-and-tie formality that suggested Marc's boy army all grown up. Old World merged with New in checked breeches with a matching shirt jacket, an alpine sweater and hiking boots, or baggy,
double-pleated herringbone pants under a shearling-lined parka in gray corduroy. It wasn't hard to imagine all those cutting-edge winter-sports addicts who snowboard in tweed falling for such
The listless droop of light-gauge knits recalled Kurt Cobain's cardigans, while the tailored trimness of the jackets that overlay them suggested the consciousness of someone newly in touch with his bodyMarc himself, perhaps, now that he is so lethally trim. And the glasses sported by a couple of the mannequins, and the sneakers that accompanied some of the baggier pant ideas, were spirited straight from Jacobs' own style. Someone's closet just got a whole lot bigger.