"It's out from the jeans now." Fighting words. Olivier Rousteing inherited a house built on denim. Over the course of a few seasons at the helm, he's worked to steer it in a new direction. For his Spring menswear, he's making his biggest break yet. At the label's showroom on Rue Francois 1er, there were, admittedly, articulated moto jeans lining the racks. But what Rousteing was far more eager to spotlight were the new, Saharienne pieces inspired by a recent trip to Miami, where he took in the city's expat Cuban culture. That set him thinking more broadly about the alternative to traditional city dressing and into safari wear—"capturing the lion in the jungle," so to speak.

The house-favorite military gear took easily to its new inspiration. It's tweaked rather than overturned: The new jacket of the season is the Spencer, short-sleeved and rolled, with epaulets and pleated pockets in jungle-going khaki, the new top a black leather camp shirt, the new pièce de résistance, a hand-woven raffia jacket, inspired by café seats in Havana. Tailoring is a new point of focus. "I would like to open Balmain to another customer, too," Rousteing said, adding suiting details to nontraditional pieces (like the silk lapels that sprung from a Perfecto jacket) and creating more traditional tailored pieces: longer, rounder-shouldered jackets with a vintage feel ("like your granddad's," Rousteing said) and two new pant silhouettes, one with deep double pleats, one in a jodhpur shape. The pants didn't, you had to admit, quite work. It could be that he needs a matter of time to develop them, or it could be that they're a misstep—but, if you will, a misstep in the right direction. Rousteing deserves credit for personalizing—even at the risk of jeopardizing—Balmain's steady business, a sacred (cash) cow. He's been an able steward so far. The lion hunt continues.