Anna Sorokin Has Been Sentenced And Our Obsession With Her Wardrobe Continues…

The 'SoHo Grifter' has just been sentenced, and her courtroom looks were almost as compelling as the case itself...

Anna Delvey

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

Anna Sorokin – AKA the woman who conned New York society into thinking she was a German heiress with a bottomless wallet – was sentenced on Thursday this week to four-to-twelve years in prison after being found guilty of theft and grand larceny (she was not found guilty, however, of fabricating records to secure a $25 million loan intended to set up an arts club modelled on Soho house and stealing $60 thousand dollars from a friend to pay for a trip to Morocco).

Up until her sentencing, Sorokin has made several courtroom appearances which have been a subject of intense public fascination. When news broke last year of the Russian- born daughter of a truck driver scamming an estimated $250,000 to enable her to live the high life in New York, it earned her the nickname of the ‘SoHo Grifter’ - and viral fame.

What was almost as compelling as the story itself, were Sorokin’s courtroom clothes. Or should we say her courtroom look, because make no mistake this was a considered, calculated, crafted image, that she’d worked with a stylist – Anastasia Walker – to achieve. ‘I selected some timeless pieces, given that everything is so public today and [trial] photographs can be saved, potentially, forever,’ Walker told a US website.

Gone were the Rikers prison duds and in their place sleek designer pieces: a sheer Saint Laurent blouse, tailored Victoria Beckham trousers, a plunging Michael Kors LBD. She accessorised with nerdy thick- framed Céline glasses and ballet pumps (she would have preferred stilettos, but according to the New York Post, these were deemed too dangerous for court). A black choker may or may not have been a nod to the ribbons women wore during the French Revolution as a gesture of solidarity to those sent to the guillotine – who knows? Sorokin is an enigma. As Walker herself put it, they’d been going for ‘mysterious chic’ with the looks.

It’s certainly true that Court Room Sorokin looks distinctly different to the woman who ruled SoHo with her scams, going under the name Anna Delvey. ‘I’d say her look at that time was very simple and somewhat sloppy,’ a former acquaintance tells Grazia. ‘Not really the look of someone who cared about style, more a bit of male attention. She never struck me as someone who had an investment in fashion beyond anything other than as a symbol of wealth.’ Indeed, understanding and adopting the symbols of wealth was integral to Sorokin’s ruse.

Anna Delvey

By adopting the uniform of the fantastically wealthy – Supreme hoodies, Gucci sandals, Rimowa luggage, luxe workout leggings – she mimicked the privileged Millennial’s unimpressed ennui. So, what is it about the SoHo Grifter story that invites such moreish consumption? Most obviously, she is representative of our endless fascination with true crime: gripping tales that we can watch from the cosy boredom of safe domesticity. Furthermore, she is the poster girl for a glossier, more palatable sub-genre of that: the super scammer. Along with Elizabeth Holmes, who built now defunct Theranos into a $10 billion company off the basis of phantom science, or frat boy with a big plan and no idea Billy ‘Fyre Festival’ McFarland, Sorokin is a chancer whose mix of luck, lies and brazen chutzpah propelled her fantasy into reality. Well, for a while, at least.

But, doesn’t our fascination with her go deeper than that? There’s a reason that the nuances and details, including what she is now wearing, are catnip for the social media generation. ‘Delvey’ is the protagonist in a modern morality tale, where what you wear, who you know and where you go can distract from all sorts of deceptions. ‘There was always lots of name dropping,’ says the former acquaintance. ‘She hung out at all the places that were supposed to be cool or exclusive. I’d see her at all the downtown scene spots such as The Blond and Acme.’

If you get an uncomfortable jolt of recognition in reading about Sorokin, it’s because her story is a grotesque amplification of a sub-section of society’s current anxiety and desire to be ‘someone’; to be seen to be at the right places in the right clothes with the right people. Sorokin is like looking at your own insecurities in a fairground mirror. ‘There are so many flashy people in the New York scene and most you would assume are not criminal, just not people you connect with or care to be around,’ says the acquaintance. ‘To be honest, she felt loud and abrasive, but she didn’t stand out spectacularly.’ So maybe it’s only now, with her courtroom fame, Sorokin has got what she always wanted – to be noticed.

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