Versace's hardly known for its subtlety, but for A/W 14 Donatella Versace had employed one relatively discreet way of getting her message across to in-the-know editors. She'd furnished her models' back pockets with Versace handkerchiefs in a play on the bandana code - for those of you prudish types, that's a system used by gay casual-sex fans where coloured hankies are folded and placed in the pocket to indicate preferred sexual fetishes and roles. Donatella had even had the foresight to send us all a bandana along with our invite, in case we should choose to get involved in the mischief.
You could have read the whole show as a celebration of gay culture, and a two-fingers up to those who are working against a world where men and women are free to love whoever they want - something dear to her late brother, Gianni Versace. Indeed, at first glance this was a sort of biker-themed Brokeback Mountain. Donatella even dubbed the biker 'the new cowboy' in her show notes. She'd been attracted to him because of his love of denim and leather - Versace staples, which she'd accessorised with all the usual hardware and chains. But, look a little closer and this wasn't just a homosexual affair. Instead it was about freedom in general. The freedom to live unafraid, be provocative and dress in whatever garb you desire - even if that is a pair of leather chaps with your bum on show. Those particular looks did a good job both of reminding us of Donatella's love of a bit of muscle, but also the success of the Versace underwear line.
Donatella's made a point of doing exactly what she wants throughout her career, ignoring critics, minimalists and naysayers along the way. For A/W 14 she's encouraging others to do the same. And who wouldn't want to follow in the great lady's stilettoed footsteps?