Fashion

Inventing Anna and “pretend until you make it”

From Billy McFarland, co-founder of the ill-fated Fyre Festival, to Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos and The Tinder Swindler, popular culture is often mesmerized by confidence scammers. Now the spotlight is on Anna Sorokin, also known as ‘the fake heiress’ or ‘the crook of Soho’.

From 2013 to 2017, Sorokin convinced Manhattan society that she was a wealthy heiress named Anna Delvey, staying in the hippest hotels, eating at the trendiest restaurants, flying in a private jet and seeking investment for an American arts foundation. ‘elite. However, she could not pay her ever-increasing bills and in 2019 she was convicted of theft of services, robbery and attempted robbery and imprisoned. Her story has now been adapted into a Netflix fictional drama called Invent Anna, created and written by Shonda Rhimes.

Much like the Steve Jobs-inspired polo necks worn by Elizabeth Holmes projected gravity, the designer clothes helped Sorokin build a personality and seem to really have a multi-million dollar trust fund. By the time her case came to court, she was already notorious and enlisted a stylist, Anastasia Walker, who told Elle magazine: “I selected timeless pieces, given that everything is so public these days and [trial] photographs can be saved, potentially, forever. Her trial outfits spawned endless comments about her looks: She even posted a tongue-in-cheek post about how to get “crook eyeliner.”

Laura Frecon, co-costumer of the Netflix series, whose credits include Mad Men and Kong: Skull Island, believes that fashion and image were essential to Delvey’s effectiveness in duping individuals and institutions. “How Anna did what she did is beyond me,” she told me on a call, “but I don’t think it would have worked if she hadn’t been looking at the room through her clothes, her jewelry, her glasses. She needed to sell this story and say, I’m rich. I’m a German heiress.

Frecon, who worked with co-costumer Lyn Paolo (TV shows Small fires everywhere, scandal) aimed to recreate many of the looks of Anna and the other characters exactly, which required some detective work. “We started by going to Anna’s Instagram,” she recalls, “We were looking at the pictures and saying, ‘Who is that person next to her?’ and of course they were all tagged, so I would go down to that person’s Instagram, then to that person’s Instagram, and we just dove deep into who they were.

Frecon and Paolo also aimed to match the clothes Delvey wore for his 2019 trial. a virtual blue plaque.) cotton and snake print; a black pencil dress and black pants with a beige sweater, mostly accessorized with an eerily Victorian black ribbon choker and heavy black Celine glasses.

In “Inventing Anna,” co-costumers Laura Frecon and Lyn Paolo matched Anna Sorokin’s clothes for her 2019 tryout. . © Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

.  .  .  including this signature black baby doll dress worn here by Sorokin on April 4

. . . including this signature black babydoll dress worn here by Sorokin on April 4 © Richard Drew/AP

While Frecon and Paolo wanted to recreate many of the outfits exactly, Frecon says she also wanted to “elevate” the overall style and that Anna’s wardrobe becomes more sophisticated as she mimics the different people she uses. for money or relationships. She says “the real Anna wore a lot of street style and Rick Owens, and a little leather bomber jacket, and at first she wore a lot of baby doll dresses. However, [in the drama] When Nora, this elderly and wealthy character, takes her under her wing and introduces her to powerful friends with incredible careers and high fashion, she steps up her fashion game. Nora wears a Céline camel cape that radiates the privilege of old silver and plush, so Anna dons a Valentino plaid cape paired with leather gloves. When Anna and her boyfriend travel around the world, Frecon says of Anna’s whimsical yacht clothing “it’s this idea of ​​pretend until you make it”.

Nora Radford, played by Kate Burton (right), takes Anna under her wing in

Nora Radford, played by Kate Burton (right), takes Anna under her wing in “Inventing Anna” © David Giesbrecht/Netflix

The rich cupboards of Invent Anna aren’t the “corporate, but make it cashmere” type, the baseball caps and Loro Piana vests you see in Succession. The aesthetic is ostensibly rich and jet-set via Valentino, Alaïa, McQueen, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. One scene in particular provides a vicarious fashion thrill, when Nora and her alpha friends take a private shopping suite at Bergdorf Goodman and are given leather samples to choose from for their own custom bags.

Frecon says the inspiration for the richness of Manhattanite dress came from seeing them floating around Bergdorf and telegraphing their status “not so much in a tag, as in the way it is worn or worn. In the Upper East Side you can choose those old ladies who know where to shop, you can see the way the clothes are cut or they walk around in a shoe that a “normal” person couldn’t get on the subway but those people have a driver.

Fashion was essential for Anna Sorokin to convince Manhattan socialites that she was a German heiress named Anna Delvey

Fashion was essential for Anna Sorokin to convince Manhattan socialites that she was a German heiress named Anna Delvey © Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

Unlike a fashion shoot, where almost everything will be lent, most clothes Invent Anna were purchased because they may wear more. But what happens to delightful pieces like the red Alexander McQueen dress that Delvey wears with a scarf and oversized sunglasses aboard a yacht? Or the camel cape? Netflix archives some of the most “quintessential” looks; most of the others are sold on the luxury resale site of the high-end consignment platform The RealReal.

Netflix will archive some of the hottest looks

Netflix Will Archive Some Of The Most “Quintessential” Looks From ‘Inventing Anna’; others will be available from retailer The RealReal © Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Frecon says, “We had a large multi-million dollar costume budget, so we could source the right clothes and jewelry and do it to the highest standard. Shonda Rhimes really writes fashion in drama. For anyone who loves fashion, this parade is like candy.

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