There was a convoluted path along which you could follow Kean Etro's decision to elevate the cow as the icon of his latest menswear collection. The lifeblood of the Etro business is the pattern we call paisley…it originated in India…where Hindus worship the cow. Bingo! But however tortuous his logic, Kean did have a point, in the sense that the cow has been the literal lifeblood of the human community for thousands of years. Here, for example, he provided the hide for a coat that instantly kicked the Etro collection into a much more primal zone than the one occupied by the brand's usual parade of boho-toned tailoring and paisley detailing. There were furry Friesian-patterned shoes as a complement, and indeed a bovine aspect to the whole collection, evidenced mostly in the brown shades that dominated.

But the other fulcrum of the presentation was mountaineering, which you could construe as a primal reach for the stars, the kind of activity a natural adventurer like Kean would be inclined toward. Except here it was made manifest in the influence of the Tyrol, which is scarcely Everest. Still, the Tyrol did gel neatly with Etro's penchant for embroidery, braiding, appliqué, and the like—witness the hand-tooled leather martingales on coats and vests. These details appeared on clothes cut from the kind of traditional fabrics that would have dressed climbers in a more gentlemanly era. They also underscored the fairy-tale quality that makes Etro a fashion story that is enduringly, appealingly out of time.