April works with her husband in a used clothing store in Texas. The woman leads an ordinary life, but hides a secret: to appease her anxieties, she sniffs and palpates the tissues, wearing them and rubbing them against her. Her husband, on the other hand, is a serial accumulator, obsessed with the fetish of possession. The two live a precarious relationship based on their respective obsessions. But when April discovers that her husband betrays her, the couple goes into crisis and their dysfunctions come to light. In revenge the woman decides to indulge herself in Randall, a stranger met in a bar. Randall is very different from Eric: he is a rich, successful man who seduces her with his refined manners and elegant clothes. Soon, however, when she forces her to play strange sexual games, April will discover Randall's dark side and sink deeper into her addiction.
Fashionista is a film that doesn't talk about people, but about addictions. In fact, all the characters are not distinguished by their precise psychology, but are defined and subjugated by their obsessions, in particular April. Interpreted by an amazing Amanda Fuller, former actress for Rumley in Red White & Blue, April is the pivot around which all the other characters revolve and on which rests the entire narrative. Too bad that this pivot is completely unstable... The whole story of Fashionista could be defined as a story of deformation: April is in fact an extremely insecure, fragile woman, lacking in personality who, in order to be appreciated by men, puts on make-up and dresses, constantly modifying the its appearance. It does not have an identity, but is defined by what it wears. His insecurity also manifests itself in his need for control. In fact he cannot live alone, but he submits to the men he meets, establishing ill relationships and passing from one "master" to another: an unfaithful husband first and then a violent lover. Eventually, at the mercy of her delusions, April will go mad and will have to be hospitalized in an asylum, but her defeat will be even more complete.
The central themes of the story, the addiction and lack of control, are also manifested in the style and structure of the film. Rumley, not surprisingly, decides to use many flashbacks and many flashforward to destabilize the viewer and make him completely lose the space-time coordinates of the story. The assembly is therefore not linear, but disjointed and conveys a sense of loss that fits perfectly with the descending parabola of the characters. The scenography is then extremely functional to characterize the protagonists that are described by the environments in which they live, rather than by their behaviors. A messy and overloaded house describes Eric's personality, while a geometric and aseptic villa is that of Randall. In the course of the film, then, photography becomes more and more de-saturated, so as to better describe April's psychophysical collapse.
But in the end what is the message? The message that Rumley wants to convey is very simple: if we become slaves of our obsessions, we end up becoming our obsessions and completely lose our identity. Fashionista is therefore a bold, violent and atypical film that does not seek compromises with the public, but best expresses the poetry of its author. Highly recommended.