The story is about an Italian fashion designer named Antonio (Rocco Siffredi), who comes to America to start a fetish clothing line. The Fashionistas, a fledging fetishwear company owned by Helena (Taylor St. Claire), wants to form a partnership with him, and attempts to get it in the form of sexual favors, while Helena takes Antonio into the S&M underground. Meanwhile, Jesse (Belladonna), Helena's faithful assistant, has her eyes on Antonio, and has her own plans to get him.
The movie starts off with a fashion show, where Antonio's models are showing off some new fashion designs, which are average fashion wear. After they parade around the stage, a group of women invade the stage, tear the clothes off the models, and push them off the stage, during which they show off their own fashions. Panic ensues, and someone is demanding then to get off the stage, but none of them women pay any attention. At the same time, the photographers are busy taking pictures of them. The meaning of this scene: The Fashionistas want to take over the fashion industry. This fashion show turns out to be a DVD that Antonio is watching. Antonio becomes fixated on a picture of a woman in chains wearing a bondage mask, which is a subliminal image he found on the DVD. He's intrigued by this image, which plays huge part in the movie.
Antonio then notices a woman (Kate Frost) desperately trying to get into her hotel room, which is next door to his. Apparently she lost her key. Another woman (which is Helena) approaches her, shoves her into the room, spanks her a lot, and calls her things like "stupid bitch". Antonio, intrigued by what he's hearing, jumps over to the balcony of the woman's room to see what's going on. When he sees the woman laying on the floor and wiggling her ass, Antonio decides to have a little fun withher. This shows some good character establishment, as it shows that Antonio is a man who will fuck any woman, which is what Helena is looking for. The whole thing is actually a setup created by Helena to get that business partnership with him, and she succeeds.
During a day at the Fashionistas headquarters, Antonio (along with his assistant, played by Manuel Ferrara) meets the rest of the employees, including Jesse. She's a shy, geeky type. Afterwards, Jesse goes home, and then she starts to strip while watching a fetish video, which shows her being dominated by another woman. To me meaning of Jesse's strip act is her being caught up in a fantasy, and the fetish video represents that fantasy. This scene is also about Jesse showing the other side of her personality, which is that of a kinky submissive. Helena walks in, and she starts dominating Jesse in her own way. Helena turns out to be more than just Jesse's boss. This becomes a full-blown sexual encounter, during which, among other things, Helena sticks a giant glass dildo in Jesse's ass. The music that's playing during this segment has an eerie tone that fits perfectly with the action. Helena looks at the TV and sees the same subliminal image in Jesse's fetish movie that Antonio saw, and she's pissed off at her because of it. She then tells Jesse that she has no chance with Antonio. She also reveals her real plan, which is that she's only using Antonio to get her fashions in the stores. This shows what kind of person she is.
During another day at the Fashionistas headquarters, Antonio walks into a room and finds two women (Friday and Sharon Wild) waiting for him. Guess what happens next? Yes, that. He just can't say no to sex. As he's fucking the two women, Helena decides to join the party, and then she completely takes over. End of first disc.
The second disc begins with Jesse putting together a new promo DVD. Then there is a scene where Jesse gives Helena a backrub, while Helena talks about her sexual fling with Antonio. The scene after that shows Antonio watching the new DVD (which is a mock-TV commercial promoting the "Chameleons" fashion line), and then he looks for the disc's "easter egg" (a hidden chapter in the disc). He finally finds it, and it's an S&M show starring the woman in the subliminal image and two men (Billy Glide and Mark Ashley). Antonio chooses from a series of fetishes, and he sees some radical S&M action. But he still has no idea who this woman is. This persona is actually a riddle of sorts.
When Antonio arrives at a fetish club, he is greeted by Helena, and his assistant and buyer (Caroline Pierce) are also there. Jesse watches Antonio from a balcony. This is the night she makes her move. Meanwhile, there is some entertainment at the club, which includes a dance act, a spanking demonstration, a fashion show with the new fetish line from the Antonio-Fashionistas partnership, and finally an act featuring a woman in chains wearing a bondage mask. Yes, it's the woman who is in the subliminal image in the DVDs. As Antonio is watching the act, he finally figures out that the woman is Jesse. Antonio then goes to the back rooms of the club, where all kinds of S&M and sex acts are going on. He looks for Jesse, but first he is dominated by Helena and two other women (Chelsea Blue and Gia). He is then left alone and tied up, and Jesse walks in and starts sucking him. Helena walks in on them and is angry at her, but Jesse stands up to Helena. She has had enough of Helena's shit, and won't be her submissive any more. Jesse finally has her man, and Helena can't stop her now. Helena walks out of the room, Antonio and Jesse fuck, and the movie ends.
This is a unique film in that it combines a mainstream plot with hardcore sex. In fact, it's hard for me to think of "The Fashoinistas" as just a porno film. It's much more than that. For example, I think the acting is actually pretty good. Taylor St. Claire plays the domineering, manipulating bitch perfectly, Belladonna is really good as a woman with a dual personality, and Rocco Siffredi is really good as an ambitious man who is also sex-crazed. Also, the picture and sound quality is as good as any mainstream movie. I'm surprised that the sound isn't in 5.1 Surround Sound considering that no expense was spared with this movie, but it's still top-notch. And yeah, I think the sex in the movie is great as well (though I think the sex parts are too long). The sex in this movie is somewhat rougher than what I'm normally into, but I don't think it's that hardcore. I'm definitely not into S&M, but I accept it as a theme in the movie. Many reviewers have said that this isn't a movie to recommend to people who are new to porn, but I would recommend it to people who aren't even porn fans. I think that anyone who just wants to see a good movie should check it out. John Stagliano had obviously set out to make a porno movie that was unlike any other, and he succeeded. I should add that I think "The Fashionistas" would make a great cult movie. Not just cult porno movie, but cult movie, period.
In addition to the movie, which spans two discs, there is also a behind-the-scenes disc and a soundtrack album, both of which are as good as the movie itself. There are also tons of extras on all the discs (except the soundtrack album, of course). And the overall packaging is excellent. It's probably the best packaging I've ever seen in a DVD, porn or mainstream.
I think "The Fashionistas" has something truly unique to offer, and that anyone who considers themselves a movie fan should see it.