Interview with the costume designer – WWD


The story of fake German heiress Anna Delvey – whose real name is Anna Sorokin – captivated New Yorkers in 2018 following the explosive New York Magazine article by journalist Jessica Pressler that detailed how the woman then 27, had cheated bankers, socialites and her close friends out of thousands of dollars to fund her lavish lifestyle and designer wardrobe.

Sorokin’s story is now the subject of a new limited series, Netflix’s “Inventing Anna,” from TV producer Shonda Rhimes, which gives an even more dramatized take on the dramatic rise and fall of the world. crook. The show features actress Julia Garner as the title character and debuts on the streaming service on Friday.

The German con man was known for his scams as much as his high fashion wardrobe, which was translated into the show thanks to costume designer Lyn Paolo who worked with her team to research Sorokin’s actual wardrobe from his time in New York City through his 2019 trial.

“What was interesting in [the show] do you first see Anna’s story through her Instagram,” said Paolo. “It was an interesting show because although it was modern and quite current, we had to do a lot of research on [Sorokin’s] Instagram because we wanted it to be true.

Paolo’s approach to creating the character’s costumes was similar to how Vivian – the reimagined character of Pressler, played by actress Anna Chlumsky – goes about writing the play about Sorokin. The character and Paolo took a deep dive on Sorokin’s Instagram, with the costume designer and her team researching the actual clothing and accessories Sorokin wore while in New York and traveling internationally.

A photo from “Inventing Anna”

The costume designer explained that there was hardly any high-end designer label that wasn’t included in all nine episodes of the series. Chanel, Dior, Celine, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Gucci and Balenciaga are just a few of the design houses that feature prominently in the show. Paolo estimated that around 97% of Garner’s costumes on the show are what Sorokin actually wore in real life. Many pieces were the actual designer clothes, while others were recreated in the show’s costume studio.

“We literally spent months researching everything, finding the brand and contacting the brand or The RealReal or a vintage store,” she explained. “It was kind of a dichotomy because we corresponded [the fashion] very seriously that you wouldn’t normally do, I think, on a current TV show.

Many “Inventing Anna” episodes center on a specific character who was friends with or impacted by Sorokin. As each character had a different narrative for the trickster, his fashion also reflected his changing nature. Some characters are fictional, while others were real people affected by Sorokin’s crimes.

“It wasn’t just about putting pretty clothes on a beautiful human,” Paolo said. “It told the story that Anna kept reinventing herself. It was an interesting project in that you have many different levels of storytelling with all the different Annas, but you also have the real Anna. We were loyal to her. as much as we could be. For me, it was an interesting puzzle.

With Sorokin’s changing character came a different style. Telling the story from the perspective of lifestyle mogul Talia Mallay – played by Marika Dominczyk – who vacations in the Hamptons and Ibiza, Sorokin wears an array of colorful kaftans and high-end resort wear. . When Sorokin attends New York Fashion Week with stylist Val – played by James Cusati-Moyer – the character looks like a “Hitchcock blonde” with her sleek, chic style. Along with socialite Nora – played by Kate Norton – Sorokin wears Chanel jackets and designer logo handbags to fit in with her nerd friends.

“Anna amped up her fashion game because she played with the big boys or the big girls,” the costume designer said. “You can tell when you walk down the street if someone is in any designer. The general public might just think this woman is beautiful, but for us it was important to show the different stages of how Anna rose.

'Inventing Anna' Fashion, Costume Breakdown

A photo from “Inventing Anna”

While accuracy was important to Paolo throughout the series, it was particularly important for episodes depicting Sorokin’s trial once she was finally caught. Sorokin’s real-life trial captivated many, as the scammer enlisted stylist Anastasia Walker who dressed her in Michael Kors, Saint Laurent, Victoria Beckham and her black-rimmed Celine glasses.

“We tried to match as much as we could,” Paolo said. “A few times we made it worse because you want to feel sad for Anna. There’s a moment when you think, ‘Oh, I hope she wins’, but I felt like we We were trying to be as real as we could and it was less about costume design and more about researching and managing the script, like you wanted the audience to know that the days were passing, but it was still fun.

Overall, Paolo explained that the show’s costumes reflect Sorokin’s notion of “dressing like you think you have to” in order to succeed, which played a big role in his elaborate plans.

“She was just a chameleon, don’t you think?” Paolo concluded. “That was the story we were telling. I don’t know the real Anna.


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