• Fashion

“Inventing Anna”, or A Wolf in Chic Clothing

Julia Garner in "Inventing Anna" (2022)

The new Netflix show Inventing Anna follows the real-life story of Anna Delvey (née Anna Sorokin), a young girl who was convicted in 2019 on charges of attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services.


The true-crime miniseries stars Ozark actress and Golden Globe nominee Julia Garner as its titular character and is based on New York Magazine’s 2018 article, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler. The journalist profiled Anna Sorokin, a Russian woman who pretended to be a German heiress under the name Anna Delvey to defraud banks, hotels, and wealthy friends for hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2013 and 2017. If not for that investigation by Pressler, Sorokin would probably be unknown to the public. Nevertheless, her persona and trial that were widely publicized after the New York Magazine’s profile, made the young mastermind one of the most notorious scammers in the history of crime.


Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix series not only follows the rise and fall of New York’s most infamous grifter, but makes a solid effort to answer the question: “Who is Anna Delvey?” Episode 3 is called A Wolf in Chic Clothes, possibly the closest answer. Lacking the luxury of family legacy, enormous inheritance or elite education, Anna employs the only weapon she has at her disposal to blend into the crème de la crème of Manhattanites. And this weapon is fashion…

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in "Inventing Anna"

Costume designers Lyn Paolo and Laura Frecon have invented Delvey’s wardrobe that scrupulously reflects her evolution on each stage of her amalgamation with the New York elites accentuating her character arc. Their source of meticulous research was Delvey’s viral profile by Jessica Pressler as well as Anna’s Instagram account (@theannadelvey) where she posted selfies of her outfits by such designers as Alaia, Dior, Valentino and Miu Miu. “We went down a rabbit hole—googling and stalking friends who were tagged—and then we tried to match every one of her looks as best we could,” Frecon says in her recent interview to Vogue. “We even recreated a little black bomber jacket that was mentioned [in the article] and that was in a lot of her Instagram photos too.”

 Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in Inventing Anna

Like Gossip Girl (which Delvey allegedly watched to learn English and master the Manhattanite accent), and The Devil Wears Prada, directed by David Frankel, who leads two of the series’ episodes, Inventing Anna dives deep into the fashion of New York on all levels from NYC street-style to Anna’s obsession with the style of Upper East Side “ladies who lunch”. Long-time collaborators of Shonda Rhimes have slightly glamourized Anna Delvey’s image versus her “real life” style, making onscreen Delvey’s fashion-strategy based on intensive use of designers’ outfits.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in “Inventing Anna” (2022)

On her trip to Ibiza, Delvey channels Grace Kelly, wearing a fitted red Alexander McQueen dress. The look is finished off with a custom-made silk scarf tied around her head like a babushka, gigantic sunglasses, and a Dior tote with her name embroidered onto it.

Julia Garner in “Inventing Anna” (2022)

The deeper Delvey infiltrates high-class circles, the more conservative her style becomes as she wants to be taken seriously in that business world. Onscreen Delvey starts wearing labels like Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, Prada, Gucci, Celine, and Valentino.

"Inventing Anna" (2022)

The above coat by Dries Van Noten is cut from sumptuous red and black floral jacquard. Some of her other garments come with fur collars and trims or shimmering pearls. Even when Delvey is dressed relatively lowkey, she still wears designer brands, for instance, a Burberry trench coat.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in "Inventing Anna"

A designer handbag is the ultimate status symbol in fashion, and Delvey’s Hermes Birkin, YSL sling bag, Celine leather tote and Lady Dior handbag speak for themselves like in her elegant look above in Valentino Houndstooth Wool cape matched with Sermoneta gloves and red Lady Dior handbag.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in "Inventing Anna"

Delvey also communicates that she’s literally loaded with money by sporting stylish shades from Dior an Fendi. She wears Celine ‘readers’ to garner a more solid look. Those glasses coupled with her signature choker became a major piece of her courtroom outfits during her infamous trial as if that was Anna Sorokin’s way to signal that she was not quite ready to let go of Anna Delvey.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in "Inventing Anna"

Delvey’s courtroom wardrobe deserves a special mention: she even hired a stylist for her courtroom appearances turning each day in court into a fashion show documented by tabloid photographers and a special Instagram account (@annadelveycourtlooks). Even wearing mass market brands like Zara, HM and Uniqlo, Delvey manages to make wardrobe crisis turn chic and sophisticated.


Inventing Anna is a perfect display of fashion power showing how we frequently measure each other’s worth and influence merely by such void indicators as the bags we carry or the shoes we wear. Probably, showrunners haven’t revealed the real Anna Sorokin, but they managed to create another fashion icon for generation Z. When Vivian Kent (character inspired by Jessica Kessler) in Episode 8 Too Rich for her Blood meets Sorokin’s father in Germany, he shares: “In Moscow they say: “Why save money on a rainy day when instead you can buy Manolo Blahniks? God wouldn’t rain on a girl in shoes like that” That explains a lot about Anna Delvey.