It wasn't so long ago that Valentino was bemoaning the depredations of modern air travel, foremost among them being that people no longer dressed up for their journey. Last season, he issued his own corrective, with a luxurious collection that was tailored for travel of the highest order. So what to make of his latest manifesto? "Say good-bye to the private plane, it's time for the easy jet." Could it be possible that this most imperial of all designers has suddenly decided to become a man of the package-tour people?

Well, no—not exactly. The first glimpse of a crocodile blouson put paid to that notion. But the fact that it was shown in a camouflage green and paired with rolled army shorts hinted at a shift—if not a sea change—in sensibility. Though the designer was his usual immaculately tailored self when he took his bow, he imagined his customer as somewhat rougher and readier than he's been in the past. A Prince of Wales suit positively slouched, its full pants spilling over sandals. A sauvage streak showed through in python-printed shorts, graphic ponyskin accessories, and the crocodile inserts on a cable-knit cardigan.

Of course, rough-and-ready is strictly a relative notion with Valentino—what looked like a sloppy rugby shirt was actually woven from a fine cashmere/silk blend. And that classic navy blazer and gray flannel combination would hardly frighten the horses. But, just like the bursts of "Sympathy for the Devil" that tried to break through on Frederic Sanchez's sound track, there was a sense of Valentino having a little fun with the beast within. For Pete (Beard)'s sake, he even proposed pajamas as eveningwear!