How Inventing Anna Meticulously Recreated Scammer Anna Delvey’s Glamorous Wardrobe
Lyn Paolo worked as the costume designer. Netflix’s miniseries Invention of Anna, But she felt more like an investigator.
It Shonda Rhimes-produced project, out today, examines the internet’s favorite scammer: Anna Delvey (née Sorokin). Based on an 2018 episode, the show will air in 2018. New York MagazineArticle that reveals how 2013-2017 were. Sorokin, posing as a German Heiress, stole over $275,000Hotels, banks and New York City wealthy acquaintances.
Paolo was tasked with returning viewers to the scene of the “Soho grifter’s” crimesEach outfit one at a. “Shonda was very clear: she wanted to match the real Anna exactly whenever possible,” says Paolo, who’s Rhimes’ go-to costumer (Scandal, How to Escape Murder). “[It] was like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle and finding all these tiny bits.”
Paolo and her co-designer, Laura Frecon, spent hours studying Sorokin’s Instagram account for clues about what brands she wore during her scamming heyday. They sometimes needed assistance fact-checking the findings. The Invention of AnnaProduction team. “We would give them pictures and say, ‘This is Anna’s foot or Anna’s arm,’” she says. “Then they would, with our help, look at what was on the runways and what was in stores at that time to make sure we had it right.”
Sorokin, who launched an art foundation and private social club in fashion, was one way she fooled the public into thinking that she was a rich heiress. She reportedly wore clothing by high-end designers such as Alaïa, Dior, Valentino, and Miu Miu. Throughout her trial, she donned a pair of black Céline eyeglasses that quickly became her signature accessory. (Propmaster Max E. Brehme managed to get the exact style frames Sorokin used. In actuality, though, the Russian-born, German-raised daughter of a trucker wasn’t a trust-fund kid. It was just that she dressed as one.
2019 saw Sorokin convicted of eight charges, including grand theft in the first, second and third degree. She was sentenced to between four and 12 years imprisonment. After her February 2021 release, Sorokin was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for having overstayed her visa. She is now in ICE custody, waiting for the U.S. to decide whether she will be deported to Germany.
While Paolo’s not a fan of Sorokin’s style, which she described as “a little Soho downtown, a little clubwear,”She believes she is a gifted chameleon. “I think Anna was a good observer,” she says of Sorokin’s fashion evolution over the course of those four years. “I think she was smart enough to blend in.” Paolo was a fan of this idea when he dressed the Fictional Anna (Ozark’s Julia Garner), whose clothes get sleeker and more expensive as she becomes more ensconced in Manhattan’s upper echelon. She admits that not all of the show’s looks are true to Sorokin’s style: “Our Anna needed to look a little more elevated than the real Anna.”
Here, Paolo explains how she recreated Anna’s signature choker, perfectly pressed prison uniforms, and designer trial looks.
All Black Everything
Scroll through Sorokin’s Instagram, and you’ll notice she favored black. A particular dress became her favorite. staple of Sorokin’s going-out wardrobe: a black Aläia knit dress. After searching vintage shops and internet consignment sites, Paolo found the mini-dress with a tight, long-sleeved cut that was just right for Garner. “We had to cut it down, and we were praying it would work because it’s like a stretch knit, which is pretty hard to alter,” she says. Fortunately, the alteration worked and the garment became integral to Garner’s acting process. “I think she felt like she was inhabiting the real Anna when she wore that,” Paolo says. “That was a useful thing for Julia.”
The Little White Details
Amid a sea of little black dresses, Paolo often added a pop of white to Anna’s wardrobe. In episode 4, Anna wears an Emily Wickstead one-shouldered black gown with a big white bow on the shoulder when she’s toasting to her future. At that moment she believes she’s going to get her loan and open her club. “Those are sort of pivotal moments for Anna,” Paolo says. Any time you see Anna in a black and white number, she says, “It’s a, ‘Is it going to happen or not going to happen?’ kind of vibe.”
Anna’s Hollywood Entrance
Paolo wanted Anna to look amazing when she arrived in Ibiza in Episode 2 with her boyfriend. “I said to Shonda, ‘I want that You can catch a thief moment,’” she recalls. Channeling Grace Kelly in that 1955 Alfred Hitchcock caper, Anna is wearing big Christian Dior sunglasses and a scarf wrapped around her blonde hair that was custom made to match her red “fun, not fussy” Alexander McQueen dress. If you look closely, you’ll notice Anna holds the Dior bag Anna on her yacht has the name “Delvey” embroidered on it. “We didn’t cheat with the bags, that’s a real Dior, but Dior couldn’t help us with the detailing,” Paolo says. The show crew had a Los Angeles seamstress make a nameplate design that they then had stitched to the sets.
Anna’s Girlboss Attire
Episode 4 features Anna in business mode, giving investors a tour at the Park Avenue home she plans to transform into a club. Paolo didn’t want the character to wear another coat. “It didn’t feel special enough,” she says. The black, white and red plaid Valentino cape was too plain for her. She also wore black Sermonetas in black. gloves to cover Garner’s arms.
This indoor scene was shot months before actress Julia had to film an exterior shoot on New York City streets in winter. “I was really trying to protect Julia from the freezing cold,” she says. “But I’m a big fan of the glove.”
The Saddest Robe
Paolo’s favorite costume from Invention of Anna isn’t a designer frock. It’s a white robe used in a pivotal moment in episode 6, in which Anna, trapped in a luxury Moroccan resort because she can’t pay her five-figure bill, realizes the jig is up. Paolo loves how Anna “devolves” in the scene, facing the consequences of her scamming for the first time. She’s not a criminal mastermind, but a frightened young woman in a foreign country. Paolo pointed out that everything Anna is wearing at that moment is property of the resort: “The hotel owns her, and they’re not going to let her leave” until she pays them.
Paolo and Anna’s team discussed a variety of options for Anna’s robe. One suggestion was to use silk. Terrycloth? Velour? “We went with the big fluffy robe,” she says. “I did like that Julia felt diminished in it. It’s overwhelming her, and that moment is overwhelming for Anna. There’s just something about her being wrapped in that robe that feels iconic for the character.”
Anna’s Courtroom Wardrobe
Sorokin treated her courtroom like an runway while she was on trial. Sorokin’s legal team hired celebrity stylists Anastasia WalkerAccording to some reports, Sorokin was dressed by Yves Saint Laurent (Miu Miu), Michael Kors and Victoria Beckham. “We were reaching out to a lot of brands because it was quoted that she wore certain designers [during the trial]. But, in fact, she may not have,” Paolo says. “I’m not sure whether Anna was fibbing or the designers are not fessing to it. I don’t know what the deal is, but we think we got the right designers.”
There was one detail, though, that Paolo knew she couldn’t get wrong: Anna’s black choker. Sorokin was wearing a black ribbon around their neck in almost every photograph from the trial. “It was her favorite choker. If you see pictures of her at parties, she wears it too,” Paolo says. “People did it in the ‘80s and in the ‘60s, but it’s not such a thing anymore. Maybe to her that felt European in a way.”
Make Prison Fashionable
Anna describes Vivian’s story in the miniseriesVeep’s Anna Chlumsky), a journalist interviewing her in prison, that she “accessorized and pressed” her khaki prison jumpsuit. While it’s unlilely Sorokin was able to do this, Paolo ensured Anna’s jail clothes were always wrinkle-free. “We had more than one pair for the day so that Julia could change into a fresh-pressed pair before or after lunch,” she says. Anna looked more polished in her tailored, but oversized, jumpsuits than the other inmates.
The prison clothes were stone washed. Stone washing is a method that makes a garment appear worn-in. Standard clothing was made more trendy by this process. “For me, it looks very Norma Kamali or ’80s Donna Karan,” Paolo says. “I feel like if I had added a black leather belt that I tied in a bow in the front, a pair of heels, and some cool earrings, she could have gone out in that.”