Whoever does Marc Jacobs' research for him is a genius, with an ability to nail a mood that is pure gold. The new Marc by Marc Jacobs collection perfectly captured the moment when stylish boys and girls were picking up Iron Curtain army surplus after the Wall came down. The khaki melton coat with the red trim? The black fur hat? The big wool coat, patched and roughly belted as a dress? It was all spookily close to the source, which was kind of in keeping with the theme of Jacobs' signature show on Monday night: There's no place like home. In that case, "home" was a serene, almost dreamlike reminder of timelessness and enduring value. Here, it was a distillation of the thrift-shop spirit that has shaped the Marc by Marc collection from day one. Not just the surplus, but a strapless tartan prom dress (with petticoat) for the girls and washed-out black felt cargo pants with matching jacket for the boys.

It could seem a little listless, except that everything about Marc Jacobs is a package, so the soundtrack was a relentlessly upbeat modern surf sound (the Drums were featured). That shoved the energy levels skyward and underscored Marc by Marc's fundamental charm and prettiness, both assets clearly highlighted by the fresh-faced and bed-headed cast of models. The pie-crust frilling on blouses and pants might have been a little obvious, but a blanket-striped sweater dress over leggings was girlishly cute. And the military references were artfully tweaked: Freja Beja Erichsen in a little-drummer-boy jacket, Cole Mohr in a big black trench worn over long johns—all reasons to like this collection more and more each season.