Once the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum latches on to a theme for its annual exhibition, you'll find that notion gets major traction in fashion. This year, it's punk's turn. There's something of a disconnect in all that ardent youthful disaffection being spun into a museum exhibition, but even in its brief, heady, transcendent moment, punk was turning. Its irresistible, iconoclastic beauty infiltrated the unlikeliest corners of pop culture. Divine safety-pinned into Zandra Rhodes at One Fifth in 1978? That was hardly what Malcolm and Viv had in mind when they dressed the Sex Pistols two years earlier. You can only imagine what they would have made of Elizabeth Hurley trolling up to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994, pinned into a Versace variant on the punk theme. But hey, however it comes, the house has a history with punk. And Donatella is fashion's original rock chick. So when those two threads were woven together tonight, you got one convincing statement. "Vunk!" she called it. The spiky edge of punk, the slinky sex of Versace.

Like her friend Tom Ford's show in London four nights ago, Donatella's presentation was fearlessly over-the-top. One word: vinyl! Its beyond-the-pale fetish connotations made it ideally unacceptable in the eyes of proto-punks like Siouxsie Sioux. Which made it an ideal cornerstone for Donatella. She herself was wearing vinyl jeans. She said they made her feel sexy. But she was also taken by vinyl's stark contrast with the luxe of cashmere, or the plushness of fur. Such extremes drove the collection: a coat as elongated as a military officer's paired with a pelmet skirt; a sheath of pure white crepe bifurcated by a strip of lethal nails. Spikes and nails and bolts were all over earrings and chokers and bracelets. It was discombobulating to see the hardware of pain reconfigured as a fashion accessory, but that was, after all, what Siouxsie, et al., did back in the day. Reconceptualize! No compromise! Gianni was a master at it. And Donatella has learned. Sometimes, she is hesitant about what she's done, but tonight it felt like she was truly at home with the in-your-face-ness of her collection. And it's enchanting to think that she might have headed off home later on for a good old blast of Slaughter and the Dogs.