Can Olivier Rousteing practice restraint? It’s a valid question given his past more-is-much-more tendencies. For fall, he made a statement with a Balmain lineup that was indeed pared down, by his standards at least.

Gone were the flashy inspirations of Las Vegas, Miami and Russia, replaced here with “Freedom, and part of my youth,” Rousteing said backstage before the show. “This time, the only travel I did was to myself, to my generation  and to global ethnicities.”

Advancing his pre-fall theme — Peter Beard’s photos of African safaris and Iman during the early Eighties — Rousteing showed utilitarian safari jackets in khaki leather with chic cargo pants, and worked a deep-blue dress and a mustard top in exquisite rope braiding for just a hint of drama.

Puffy peplums provided a taste of excess, particularly when embroidered, embellished and detailed with fur. Zebra and leopard patterns added a jungle vibe.

Still sexy, the stripped-down look worked to a sophisticated effect. Rousteing may not know it (he’s only 28 years old), but these clothes might find an audience beyond women in their 20s.

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