Marc Jacobs is one of the most vocal exponents of the "it's only clothes" school of design, but in actual fact he generally infuses his work with an intriguing backstory. More often than not, that means a trawl through one or another aspect of his gilded years in New York nightlife. So it was with the latest Marc by Marc Jacobs collection he showed for men and women. He has a natural affinity for the proto-grunge sensibility that birthed places like the Mudd Club, inspired books such as Slaves of New York, and shaped sounds like Sonic Youth, and the presence of all three could be felt in the show.

Jacobs is too prescient a designer to simply regurgitate, so what the collection fundamentally reflected was how much more sophisticated 18-year-olds are these days. The stories clothes tell now are cunningly manufactured. Fabrics in this collection, from cotton twill to leather, had been prewashed, so that a short jacket in striped ticking, felted wool, double-breasted cotton twill, or bottle-green corduroy already had a life. A spirit of perverse glamour underscored the layered T-shirts, the black-and-red striped henley over long johns, a striped parka, even a buffalo-plaid shirt with chalk-striped trousers. There were sneakers with everything. And Jacobs' masterful show stylist, Alistair Mackie, added dandy flourishes like striped belts, enameled red star pins, impractical but irresistible caps, and a roaring sound track by English rockers Kasabian.