There’s no runway quite like Anna Delvey’s New York rooftop whilst the con artist is under house arrest…
Anna Delvey, the notorious fake German heiress who conned New York’s elite, recently hosted a fashion show from the rooftop of her East Village apartment while under house arrest. Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, teamed up with fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone for the event, which aimed to give attention to emerging designer Shao Yang‘s new genderless label Shao.
The fashion show was as much about the spectacle of Delvey herself as it was about the clothes. Delvey has become infamous for using fashion to manipulate people and project an image of wealth and sophistication. Now even after being exposed, arrested and serving almost four years in prison, her infamy continues to garner attention – something desperate young designers crave in an oversaturated industry.
The event attracted fashion insiders eager to gawk at Delvey, including Purple magazine editor Olivier Zahm, pop singer Slayyyter and Lady Gaga collaborator Nicola Formichetti. Formichetti said he came purely out of fascination with Delvey and “what she’s going to do next.” Guests crowded into Delvey’s tiny apartment and huffed up the stairs to the tar-papered rooftop to see her make a brief appearance before the models emerged.
Delvey herself wore a Shao black tuxedo decorated with rhinestones, its long sleeves conveniently covering her ankle monitor. The collection itself had a Gaultier-meets-Off-White aesthetic with sleek black and white suiting and sporty corsetry accents. Twenty-six year old designer Shao Yang graduated from Parsons and runs a successful custom suit company, but turned to Delvey and Cutrone’s “pop-up P.R. agency” OutLaw to generate buzz.
The stunt appeared to work, even if primarily drawing those curious to see Delvey herself. But it highlighted the questionable morals of an industry that prioritizes attention and social media above all else. As Cutrone said, “All bets are off now” when it comes to fashion’s rules.
Some designers may not appreciate their work being overshadowed by Delvey’s spectacle. But for others, any publicity is good publicity. Delvey is now trying to rebrand herself, claiming she just wants to channel the attention into something positive. But her history makes this seem doubtful.
In the end, the shiny fashion event put style over substance. But that may have been the point. Delvey built her image through flashy designer pieces, and fashion still can’t resist her. Even if it means compromising morals for momentary viral hype.