On Wednesday afternoon, Anna “Delvey” Sorokin let her hair down, sweeping into Manhattan court — where she is on trial for convincing half of Manhattan she was a German heiress — like it was Mercer street in Soho.
She wore a thin black choker around her pale white neck, which complimented her thick black-rimmed glasses and matching sleeveless V-neck dress. According to the New York Post, Sorokin would have preferred stilettos on her feet, but the Department of Correction deemed the sartorial choice “too dangerous” for court. She opted for black ballet flats instead.
In comparison to Sorokin’s recent uniform of a beige jumpsuit from Rikers Island, some saw the look as an upgrade. The Daily Mail, for example, called it an “incredible prison makeover.”
According to the Post, Sorokin styled herself with some assistance. Her defense lawyer Todd Spodek reportedly had an “associate” run over to H&M last week, where they spent around $200 on items that “didn’t scream ‘inmate.’” They then returned with a haul that included a camel-colored sweater, a black blazer, a ruffled white top, and, notably, no black turtlenecks.
None of these looks screamed “inmate,” but the black choker and deep V-neck didn’t scream “innocent,” either. Has Sorokin given up pretending to be someone she’s not? (During the French Revolution, women wore ribbons around their necks in solidarity with those sent to the guillotine.) To answer that, we’d have to know who the “real” Anna Sorokin is, which we don’t. Every outfit she wears holds the possibility for a new character, and today, her look said: This sucks. She made the most out of a bad situation.
When New York recounted the details of Sorokin’s extensive swindling last year, her fashion choices were part of the story. Her victims remember her wearing “really fancy clothing,” like Balenciaga, or “maybe Alaïa.” Her hotel room, which she couldn’t pay for, was “overflowing” with bags from Supreme and Acne. She also somehow got her favorite Celine glasses into Rikers.
As her victims and followers will tell you, Sorokin’s expensive-yet-unrefined taste only made her rich-person image more convincing. Those with money often have an unsophisticated idea of how to spend it. (See: Paul Manafort’s ostrich jacket.) But in retrospect, Sorokin’s strenuous, messy attempts to fit in were perhaps a glaring sign that she didn’t, like some scammer version of the Streisand Effect. Look around: Do you see anyone else wearing a choker right now?
Elizabeth Holmes, another scammer du jour, is an easy comparison. By wearing the same black turtleneck every day to convince people that she was the “next Steve Jobs,” she seemed like someone desperate to put forth a certain artificial vision of herself — or maybe even cover something up. Sure, everyone loves a black turtleneck. But no one loves a black turtleneck that much.
Speaking of Holmes: After Anna Sorokin wore a choker necklace to court on Wednesday, a colleague pointed out that she’s a fan of the necklace as well.
Which begs the question: Is the choker the new turtleneck? It could be. Spring is here, and scammer season is just heating up.