Ferruccio Pozzoni, newly appointed creative director of menswear at Valentino, has one very distinct memory of the legacy he's been hired to perpetuate. It's an eighties-era image of David Sylvian—the lead singer of the group Japan who was once known as the best-looking man in the world—wearing a Valentino tux. But for his first Valentino collection, Pozzoni's inspiration was actor Helmut Berger, renowned in his day for his exceptional good looks. Clearly, male beauty is a Pozzoni preoccupation, which is no doubt why his dream is to design men's haute couture at Valentino—mere bespoke is simply too classic for his tastes.

There may have been glimmers of Pozzoni's nascent ambition in the clothes he showed, particularly the eveningwear, with its revisionist pairing of black and midnight blue, a mink-lined cashmere coat, and a pair of graphic plaid pants, deep-pleated, beltless, and available to order. After all, his background is Prada, Miu Miu, and Brioni, which led one to hope for a hybrid of luxury and edginess (remember, there were collections when Valentino himself carried off the same juggling act with great success). The designer did make a cautious stab at independence from current trends by opting for a constructed shoulder in his jackets versus the soft Neapolitan tailoring that currently has menswear in its grip. And there were quirky sartorial touches—a three-piece suit in tan mohair had a matching tie—and some deluxe outerwear suggesting that Pozzoni has a grip on what's needed. He might have pushed things further, but perhaps caution isn't such a bad thing in these early days after the much-mourned retirement of Valentino himself.