Fall's John Varvatos man is a man on the move. "He started in London and ends up here in Milan," the designer mused before the show. "He traveled by train." And in the Milanese military school where Varvatos showed the collection, an enormous set of gravel-inlaid train tracks stretched out before a station's clock to form the runway. His long-haired waifs literally took to the rails to a Black Keys beat.

Imagining the necessity of frequent adjustments—for city visits versus small-town sojourns, warmer climes versus colder—Varvatos (and Bill Mullen, his stylist) emphasized mutability. Looks were composites of layers upon layers: Sleeveless coats became vests worn over thick, nubby cardigans; suede biker jackets turned waistcoat when layered under wool overcoats. Texture, whether in the form of hairy sweaters, chemically treated fabrics, or raw edges left raggedy, trumped all. In fact, there was hardly a look without two or three. Piling it on (palimpsest styling, shall we say) is not new. But it added a welcome spark to the Varvatos offering this time around, which in some seasons can feel overfamiliar. The JV staples and standards recur time and again. But here was a reminder that Varvatos—more the train than the traveler—still does his part to push them forward.