Haute couture is the opportunity for designers to try out new concepts, indulge their most extravagant fantasies and create exquisite clothes for a lucky few. For Donatella Versace, it is also the perfect excuse to flaunt her hyper-sexy, celebrity-mad vision of fashion at the highest decibel level. As usual, Hollywood A-listers lined her front row: Lil' Kim turned up in platinum, logo-ed hair extensions and a mottled fur; Salma Hayek dazzled in copper paillettes; Pamela Anderson, barely contained in a sequined tube top, drove the paparazzi to a frenzy.

It was a fitting prelude to a feisty and flamboyant collection based on the structured, highly tailored silhouette of a '40s diva: pinched waistlines, strong shoulders, strict pencil skirts and tight corsets. Versace updated her pinup girls with Afro hair, Blade Runner makeup and striking chromatic combinations—witness her black feather bolero jacket with high-waisted skirt and matching bumblebee top.

Other highlights included Oscar-ready see-through lace dresses with visible boning, a striking tortoise-shell shirtdress and several racy harlequin-print cocktail numbers—a must-have for those on the hunt for a new and improved husband. Dizzying two-tone stiletto mini-boots, geometric evening bags and enormous, interwoven circular totes added to the over-the-top mood of outrageous elegance.