"I really like that coat", said Zayn Malik, with meaningful emphasis, indicating a two-tone, weave-patched olive field jacket in what looked like drill (but wasn't, obviously), as he examined Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's board backstage. This was a really excellent amalgam of clothes that hordes of men want to wear, realized in a manner that only a house with the resources of Valentino and the particular sensibility of designers such as these could achieve. "Cultures become one culture -that's what we find exciting", said MG Chiuri. "At the end there is no real reference. We love to go around with our mind and our inspiration to create". The designer's comment was both a dissembling and a truth. It sidled away from accuracy because, of course, there were reams of references here -guitar straps (on backpacks), souvenir jackets (this season's key outerwear piece realized here in leather jacquard), military (like, everywhere), punk (slyly quiet), and the universal passion for denim (handmade in Rome). Add to that Native American (but not necessarily North American) weaving, Hawaiian shirting (thermal printed), and Spanish summer footwear, and we were swimming in more signifiers than a Barthes convention. Ergo the supposed lack of reference : because when your mélange is so rammed with ingredients that it becomes a soup, who can really say what the prime ingredient is ? Ultimately these were deeply wearable clothes of an elevated construction. The denim was hand-stitched and thermal-bonded, with one overcoat reassembled from a myriad of patches in a different wash. The military-flashed chinos and Zayn Malik's favorite olive jackets were a silk-cotton mix that you could, if you're brave, throw into the washing machine. The studding on the backpacks and closing jackets was turquoise, true, but not too ornate to imagine flashing for yourself. Perhaps the only off notes were the leather shirts and fanny packs -one of which, to the uproarious amusement of Valentino's honorary president, Giancarlo Giammetti, slithered to the knees of its excellently unflappable model mid-walk. Why off notes ? Because in this collection they seemed rare examples of stylized rather than real fashion -not a concentrated reflection of what man on the street might unselfconsciously wear and relish. "We believe that it is important that we translate couture culture into something that people can wear every day", said Maria Grazia Chiuri, "because couture does not always have to be something very expensive with cashmere double. You can do couture also with denim. We want to translate this value into pieces that you can use in your real life". This philosophy is almost absurdly straightforward, yet so few designers seem to consider it. More fools them. This was a collection to covet with your head, your heart, and your line of credit.