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The “last emperor” is no longer at the helm of his fashion house and, despite the rich tradition of supremely well-tailored formalwear he has leant his name to, Valentino was never really an adamant menswear designer in the first place, preferring instead to stick to his training in haute couture. This fact is a mixed blessing for the team currently responsible for designing over at Valentino, as their departure from doling out ultra-Italian peak-lapel suits lined in matador-red silk last year received acclaim from new fans but was sure to isolate some of the old ones. This nouveau-Valentino aesthetic, however, remains strong in the brand’s latest lookbook for Spring 2012. Maintaining excellent tailoring and the use of heritage materials but moving in a distinctly more contemporary direction, the collection includes suits, separates and casual wear all cut in skinny fits and featured color-blocking, white bucks and even the use of a palm-tree pattern. Despite some odd pieces, a leather-sleeved navy bomber jacket and the appearance of an updated classic cream suit hint towards a new Valentino that’s moving in the right direction.