"Welcome to my jungle," Olivier Rousteing pronounced backstage, declaring this fearless mash-up of safari chic and hip-hop style to be his most personal collection ever. "I'm French, I'm black, and I'm proud to be at Balmain, but this is a message of freedom and globalism," he said. Rousteing's new Fall show for Balmain continued in the groove of his pre-collection, which marked a departure from the glitz of his previous outings. In January he was talking about a more all-inclusive Balmain—one that embraces different ethnicities and cultures, and is reflective of his latest campaign face and new friend, Rihanna. Riri was supposed to be the guest of honor in his front row today, but she was waylaid by Paris traffic. Even without her, though, Rousteing's new message was hard to miss. From here on out, he'd be doing things his way.

So, the baby pink and sky blue pied-de-poule of last season was out. In its place were cargo jackets and pants, leopard spots and zebra stripes, leather latticed with silk cord and gold chain, oversize motorcycle jackets, and electric pops of red and yellow lamb's fur, all showed on one of the most diverse castings of the season. Bare skin has been a big thing at Balmain since the house was revived in the mid-aughts, but Rousteing made a conscious break with that here. "In 2014, you can be sexy without exposing two meters of legs," he said. Sometimes that meant his layered looks erred on the heavy side—but that's nothing that Rousteing and Rihanna can't iron out before her next photo op.