Donatella Versace returned to the couture runway in svelte form—ironed blonde hair whipping to the waist, body trimmed and trained. That is the way the designer made her entrance at the end of the show, and that is the way every other girl on the runway was made to look, too. It drove home the point of the first Atelier Versace runway presentation since fall 2002: confidence in the high-glam, knock-your-eyes-out dressing this house has made its signature.

Daywear? Forget it. Even a white suit comes worked in satin with a bedazzling, crunchy crystal belt and super-flared pants, then turns to flaunt a back in paper-cutout lace. Something described in the program notes as a "mini trench" is sliced and pieced in such a way that at least 50 percent of the action is sheer. A generic rock-chick leather jacket—shredded into strips, braided and knotted like macramé, and molded to form a second skin—gets upgraded to superstar status.

And for evening? Tiny minidresses that appear to be nothing more than fine bead necklaces. Lashings of pastel satin and chiffon, slashed with cutouts and edged with sparkle. In short, everything you need if you equate the words photo opportunity with another chance to go in for the kill.