Donatella Versace has recently spent some time in Palm Springs. "It was a reflective moment," she said. "The colors and the landscape inspired me a lot." Judging by the collection, the holiday did her good, not just in her choice of sandy, ombréd shades and cactus prints, but in her resolve to smooth out lines and turn down the bling several notches. Donatella's girls, groomed to perfection and purposefully powering forward in groups, made by far the slickest vision of glamour to be had in Milan.

She dealt with day by sending out lean pants cropped at the ankle, neat leather biker jackets, shorts, and a perfectly proportioned narrow ostrich coat with bracelet-length sleeves. Her notion of a day dress has shifted from leg-flashing and breast-gripping to—for her—a relatively eased-up cut that still expertly outlines curves but ends 3 inches below the knee. A couple of the best were in plain navy, too complexly pieced to be called understated, but exuding a new, classy kind of sexiness.

At night—especially with her reworkings of the classic Versace beaded gowns—she really shone, applying a delicacy of touch she's never attained before. Dispensing with her former reliance on corseting and cantilevering, she let shapes flow along a more natural bodyline. A black-to-navy degrade gown, subtly shaded like the midnight sky, was the highpoint of a strong show.