July 25, 2004 – The ABC Family Movie Crimes of Fashion Premieres
“I am a fashion student! I design pretty clothes that don’t include gun holsters!”
On July 25, 2004, the ABC family movie Crimes of Fashion premiered. It was written by David Mickel, directed by Stuart Gillard, and stars Kaley Cuoco as Brooke, Dominic Chianese as George, Megan Fox as Candace, Pat Kelly as Jack, and Chuck Shamata as Sal Hugo.
The film begins at a funeral for Don Dominic, where a group of mob men are being spied on by a duo of men from the FBI, and are soon spotted by the mob. Meanwhile, at Fashion University, fashion student Brooke Taylor is mooning over a guy instead of paying attention to her studies, but is able to answer the question the professor gives her. Unfortunately for Brooke, while she is excellent at her studies, her fashion sense leaves much to be desired. Her rival, Candace, takes joy in pointing out Brooke’s sloppiness, much to Brooke’s annoyance. As Brooke heads to another class, she is approached by one of the men at the funeral, who tells her to get in a car with him. She reluctantly goes with him when he shows her his gun, and is taken to a mansion that he says belonged to her grandfather. Brooke is confused, as she never knew he had a grandfather. She becomes angry, thinking that she was abandoned by him in foster care after her parents died while he lived in the mansion. The man, George, lets Brooke know that it was her grandfather’s final wish that he take over the family business, and she is shocked to find that he was a mob boss.
Brooke refuses to play any part in her grandfather’s business, and walks away from Gordon, although he will not take “no” for an answer and shows up in her next class. He continues to find her on campus, refusing to give up until she says yes. She finally decides to listen to his explanation, and he tells her that their group is so close to being legit, and they need someone honest to take them the rest of the way: her. She agrees, only if she can stay in school and no one finds out about this. In a corner diner, the two men from the FBI meet and discuss that the Sarto family has found themselves a new Don. The younger of the two, Jack, is tasked to go undercover at Brooke’s school to find information about her and to bring her down. Brooke then heads back to her grandfather’s mansion, and is told about Sal Hugo, a rival mob boss that wants the Sarto territory. Gordon tells Brooke that she’ll need to earn Hugo’s respect and sell him on their plan of going legit; Brooke freaks out at hearing this, as she claims she’s not convincing and no one listens to her. Gordon offers to teach her how to be more confident, although she has a very hard time learning anything. When Hugo hears of the new Don, he is less than pleased.
Jack finally makes contact with Brooke, although he acts very nervous around her. Brooke’s crush, Marcus, interrupts their conversation, although he acts like a complete jerk. Soon after, Brooke heads to a meeting with the Sarto family, although she is not confident about meeting everyone. The speech she gives to the family is less than ideal, but she finally realizes that she can use her fashion skills to make them a respectable group. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Candace is stealing fashion designs from another girl downtown, when she spies Brooke with her mob. Brooke finally admits to her friends about her double life, and Candace overhears. Her friends can’t support her on it, and her Candace heads to the headmaster about Brooke’s activities. Jack continues to search for information on Brooke, but is unable to find anything. He heads to Brooke’s part time job, where she’s accompanied by George. Jack and Brooke start to talk, and he is very impressed with Brooke’s expertise and passion for fashion design. They continue to “bump into each other” on campus, and they continue to bond. He is warned by his boss not to get to close to her.
Candace has been snooping around trying to get information on Brooke, and sell what she has to a reporter at the New York Banner. After the news is published, Brooke is ambushed on campus by reporters, and is saved by her friends as they escort her across campus. She freaks out and decides to tell George that she’s going to quit, but when she gets to class, she is greeted with applause. Everyone then starts being nice to her, as they fear her wrath as a mob boss. Meanwhile, George is planting flowers in the garden, when it’s revealed that he is actually the Don, and Brooke’s grandfather, but plans to keep this hidden from Brooke. He goes to pick her up later for the meeting with Hugo, and although she’s nervous, he gives her the confidence she needs to go ahead with the meeting. The meeting, however, doesn’t go very well, as Hugo believes that he owns everything that she owns. She’s able to turn it around with her fashion sense, so she thinks, but Hugo pegs her for a softie and says that she’ll be easy to break.
Jack is tasked once again to undergo surveillance to spy on Brooke, and when he tries to get her alone, Brooke’s crush Marcus takes her away. Jack heads back to the FBI truck, despondent, while Brooke is asked out by Marcus. George doesn’t approve of Marcus, thinking he likes her for the wrong reasons. They head to an Italian restaurant, where the staff goes out of their way to impress her when they find out she is the Sarto Don. Marcus starts asking her all sorts of questions about the mafia, and admits that he only is dating her because she’s a mob boss. She calls off the date and heads home, and decides to research what her grandfather did and all of his businesses. She finds that the Sartos own a dress factory that makes knockoffs, and George reveals the plan to go legit: they start producing Brooke’s designs and creating a whole new dress factory. As Jack continues to investigate Brooke, the two get closer, although he is torn between his job and his feelings for Brooke. When Brooke runs to tell George, she finds him leaving, although he changes his mind and stays.
Candace, still trying to one-up Brooke, goes by her room to brag about her designs, when Brooke realizes she’d seen the designs before from a worker in the Sarto factory named Rosa, and that Candace cheated. She goes to talk to Rosa, who admits why she gave the drawings to Candace. As they prepare their case to take to the Dean, Hugo goes to threaten the Dean, as the Dean continues to borrow money from Hugo. Hugo then decides to have a “hostile takeover” of the school, since the Dean can’t come up with the money. Brooke goes to meet Jack at the Sew-Off in the quad, and they walk off together to talk. She tries to tell him that she’s a mob boss, but he refuses to listen to her. When she continues to talk, he cuts her off by kissing her. The Dean suddenly appears and closes down the school, and informs Brooke that Sal Hugo is closing down the school. The FBI appears soon after and asks to talk with Brooke, with Jack revealing who he truly is. When Brooke protests that she’s making the family legitimate, the FBI asks for her help in taking down Sal Hugo. Brooke decides that the best way to raise enough money for the school is to put on a fashion show, with the clothes being sold after the show.
At her job, Brooke vents about falling for the wrong guy, thinking that Jack was using her to further his career, when Jack appears and informs her that he’s been suspended. He tells her that Sal Hugo burned down his grandparents’ shop when he was a kid, and that’s why he joined the FBI. He also admits that his feelings for her have been out in the open the entire time. Brooke decides to negotiate with Hugo, giving him his money and all of her businesses, save for the dress factory, and says that one day, he’ll be giving her all of his businesses. The day of the fashion show arrives, and some of the models haven’t arrived, thanks to Candace’s sabotage. The show then begins without a hitch, which premieres Brooke’s new line, “Crimes of Fashion.” The show is a success, with Brooke getting offers from Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales. She confronts Hugo after the show, and is able to get enough information to send him to jail. Brooke and Jack reconnect afterwards, and decide to begin a real relationship. The Dean is also arrested for embezzling, and George is made the new Dean of the school. His first act is to expel Candace and give her scholarship to Rosa. In the end, he finally admits the truth: he is Brooke’s real grandfather. He tells her that he couldn’t leave her again, and she forgives him. The movie ends with Brooke becoming a successful designer, surrounded by her friends and family.