This article was originally published when Anna Sorokin aka the “Soho Scammer” was on trial in 2019. She was convicted on eight counts, including second-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and first-degree attempted grand larceny. Sorokin was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, and was released in February 2021 for good behavior. “The thing is, I’m not sorry,” she told The New York Times after her sentencing hearing. “I’d be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything. I regret the way I went about certain things.” According to Insider, Netflix paid Sorokin $320,000 to adapt her life story for the Shonda Rhimes-created series Inventing Anna. The show chronicles her upbringing, her time in New York City, and her trial—during which she famously wore designer clothing. Below, we spoke with Sorokin’s trial stylist Anastasia Walker, a former fashion magazine staffer and celebrity consultant.
Anna Sorokin, alias Anna Delvey, looked more like a millennial shopper on Mercer Street than an accused criminal in Manhattan Supreme Court this week. While many defendants alter their appearance to imply their old, nefarious ways are far behind, the alleged grifter—who reportedly duped Manhattanites into believing she was a German heiress for nearly four years—did the exact opposite.
On Wednesday, she swapped out her drab Rikers uniform for a plunging Michael Kors shift dress. The following day, she paired a sheer black Saint Laurent top with Victoria Beckham trousers. She accessorized the nerdy-chic ensemble with a black choker necklace and her signature thick Céline frames.
It didn’t take long for Sorokin’s trial looks to get an Instagram account. Twitter users described her courtroom aesthetic as “iconic.” Tabloid headlines ignored the charges against her (grand larceny and theft of services totaling $275,000), instead focusing on her “incredible prison makeover.”
But who was sending Saint Laurent to Sorokin in prison? We confirmed the 28-year-old enlisted assistance from Anastasia Walker, a former Glamour magazine staffer who has dressed everyone from Courtney Love to G-Eazy.
“Anna and I talked on the phone about what she was interested in wearing,” Walker tells ELLE.com. “I couldn’t show her photographs, but as people interested in fashion, we spoke in references about the themes she wanted to come through [in her outfits]. I selected some timeless pieces, given that everything is so public today and [trial] photographs can be saved, potentially, forever.”
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Walker offered to help after The New York Post reported last week that Sorokin’s legal team “panicked” about her outfit, fearful a taupe corrections uniform would insinuate guilt. Sorokin’s lawyer, Todd Spodek, had an associate hit a nearby H&M to “spend $200 on something that didn’t scream ‘inmate,’” according to the outlet. The associate came back with a respectable black blazer, capris, beige sweater, and white sneakers.
The H&M outfit was fine, but Walker felt Sorokin deserved to be tried wearing designer labels. Walker’s close friend Neff Davis—described by Paper Mag as Sorokin’s only true friend in New York—connected her to Spodek.
“[Sorokin’s case] is interesting and unique, but the main reason I decided to help out was because of our mutual friend,” Walker says. “I’m always happy to help, and I love what I do. If it works and I can make it happen, then why not?”
As a former fashion magazine editor, Walker was used to assisting on cover shoots—not styling micro-celebrity alleged criminals. Over the phone, she and Sorokin decided an all-black ensemble would send a sartorial message of seriousness. Plus, Walker opined, a monochrome look would be “timeless,” an important consideration given that Sorokin’s trial photos would likely appear in the tabloids (they did), and that her style could potentially play a big part in the forthcoming Netflix project about her.
“I really tried to focus on classic silhouettes and classic pieces in general,” Walker says. “[The all-black] may change in the future—we may go lighter. It is mysterious chic, and although it’s getting a lot of media attention, this is still her real life. People have made comments that she doesn’t take life seriously, but to me black is just a strong and powerful color. It’s serious.”
Walker sent the Victoria Beckham slacks and Saint Laurent sheer blouse to Sorokin a week before she was set to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court. The choker was “all Anna’s idea,” Walker says, and her client already had the Céline glasses, which she believes allow her to retain “some part of her old self [identity].”
“Those are her signature, if you will,” Walker says. “Or made to be seen as such.”
Logistically, it’s tricky dressing Sorokin, who remains in jail without bond. “She has this really nice hair color and I feel like lighter colors will really play up on that as well, so after this first week we can explore what else may be available. But it’s still prison, and there’s tricky logistics of getting her clothes in prison,” Walker says. “There’s a system of what goes in and what’s allowed and what is not. So, we will just see what we can do within the confinement of policy… [There is a] very real possibility and likelihood that if something doesn’t fall within the parameters of what they deem appropriate or safe it will not be allowed.”
Sorokin has been held at Rikers since she was charged with grand larceny and theft of services totaling $275,000 in 2017. Jessica Pressler’s May 2018 New York Magazine article detailed her infamous rise to socialite status in New York; Sorokin spent lavishly on vacations and clothing despite not having the fortune she said she did.
Walker is hesitant to reveal the exact details of her arrangement with Sorokin. However, she disclosed that she’s getting paid for the gig—and they’ll continue working together in the future.
“[Anna] is very lucky to have a team and people that support her,” Walker says. “There are so many people that don’t.”
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