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Released: Dec 01st, 2006
Running Time: 256
Director: John Stagliano
Company: Evil Angel
Cast: Sasha Grey, Melissa Lauren, Nicole Sheridan, Sintia Stone, Jazz Duro, Mark Davis, Marie Luv, Sandra Romain, Katsuni, Nacho Vidal, Adrianna Nicole, Rocco Siffredi, Manuel Ferrara, Belladonna, Gianna, Jenna Haze, Annette Schwartz, Flower Tucci, Nici Sterling, Others
Critical Rating: AAAA 1/2
John Stagliano's long-awaited sequel to his landmark BDSM-meets-hardcore opus The Fashionistas feels even more epic-like than the 2002 original, unfolding at a leisurely pace – very leisurely at times – over more than four hours. And that's only the first half of the sequel. Because Stagliano, ever the perfectionist, ran out of time to release Fashionistas Safado by Sept. 30 in time for AVN Awards consideration, he made the undoubtedly painful decision to release it in two parts. The second half, Fashionistas Safado: Berlin, is due to street early next year.
Suffice it to say that this volume, Fashionistas Safado: The Challenge is one of the very most distinctive titles of the year, and deservedly has been nominated a host of AVN Awards, including Best Video Feature and Best Director.
OK, so is it better than the original? Sequels are a notorious bitch for every director, and while Fashionistas Safado: The Challenge doesn't feel as groundbreaking, richly plotted, tightly-paced (the first cock-to-pussy penetration doesn't come until the one hour mark) or complete as the original (it is, after all, only the first half of the sequel), it, as noted above, is more epic in its scope. It expands on the 2002 release by incorporating a lengthy opening sequence from Stagliano's smashing stage version of The Fashionistas and by being shot both here (Porn Valley and Vegas) and abroad (Berlin).
The fetish fashions, meanwhile, are even more spectacular and darkly kinky than in the first one, and legitimately can be called the star of the sequel; even more so than Rocco and Belladonna, reprising their well-acted roles as designers Antonio and Jesse, now together as a couple, but intriguingly not happily ever after: Antonio has become obsessed with the mysteriously menacing Safado (Nacho Vidal), a rival designer based in Berlin, and his beautiful muse, played by Katsumi.
And the sex – ah yes, the sex; that – is at least the equal of the original, with the biggest, baddest A-list cast of the year (see credits above) engaging in, most notably, a 62-minute orgy of staggering proportions (just the sheer number of bodies ?), plus, among other scenes, two distinctive anal threeways – Rocco/Gianna/Jenna Haze and Katsumi/Sintia Stone/Jazz Duro, the latter set in a stark Berlin dungeon.
Is the sequel better? Perhaps that's not a fair question until we can see both halves of it together. But taken on its own, Fashionistas Safado: The Challenge is one of the very best releases of the year and yet another high water mark in the career of arguably the greatest pornographer of all time.
Retailing: The challenge will be to keep this one on your shelves, so stock deep.