House arrest didn’t deter Anna Delvey from getting involved in fashion week.
The convicted felon cohosted a fashion show Monday night at her East Village apartment building for the designer Shao Yang.
About 75 people trooped up the five flights to cram into the black plastic card chairs on the rooftop. Dozens more waited outside in a zigzag line on the sidewalk, giving the gathering a decidedly ’90s feel.
The show took place with ominous clouds overhead, a warbly sound system and the glittering downtown skyscape—with the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and other landmarks festooned in blue light in honor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks—in the background.
Delvey, who millions know as the subject of the Netflix series “Saving Anna,” attracted more attention than the collection, but the models held their own too. The 32-year-old was all smiles mugging for the cameras before and after the show with publicist Kelly Cutrone. The pair joined forces to create the pop-up Outlaw Firm in order to coproduce Yang’s first show.
Actress Leah McSweeney and designer and stylist Nicola Formichetti turned up, as well as Gary Wassner and Fashion Group International’s Maryanne Grisz. The unisex casting featured a face from the past—Irina Pantaeva whom Karl Lagerfeld helped to elevate to fame. Her lanky handsome son also took a turn—and the pair’s joint runway debut received rousing applause. Models sported sharp suits, slouchy dresses and other styles that easily could be worn by downtowners.
Lining up the 31 models wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. Despite having highlighted that Anna Delvey was involved in the show when requesting models for the show’s casting from different agents, two models that initially had been hired later dropped out due to her affiliation. Earlier Monday Cutrone said, “The agent was really cool but then they must have had an agents’ board meeting and decided they didn’t want to be affiliated with Anna. Well, does that mean you don’t shoot campaigns with Martha Stewart, Puff Daddy or Steve Madden? WTF is that about? What about every other person in the fashion industry and our pop culture world, who has been in prison?”
Arrested in 2017 and found guilty of eight charges, including attempted grand larceny in the first degree and theft of services, Delvey had posed as a well-connected affluent German heiress and scammed more than $275,000 in white-chip indulgences like private jet services and luxury hotel stays. Released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and placed under house arrest in October, Delvey said Monday afternoon that she is “just a person, who is trying to figure out how to move on with my life. I made some mistakes and they just happened to be very public.”
Having worked with emerging designers for years, Cutrone said they need help more than ever. Models alone can cost upward of $1,000 for a show with an additional 20 percent in fees for each, she said. “The state of the industry right now is every person for themselves right now. It doesn’t really seem that everybody is all tricked up about fashion week. What’s really happening here? I walk down the street and see stores that are for rent and young designers desperate about how they’re going to make it in the industry. There are less and less fashion reviewers, places to be reviewed, outlets and staff. I’m not a doomsayer but I am a realist.”
Yang relocated from Taiwan to the U.S. at the age of five with her parents, who worked three jobs to put her through Parsons School of Design. After picking up her diploma, she opened a bespoke tailoring company that focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community.
But she appeared completely untroubled, beaming Monday night even after Shao’s finale, when the power cut out just before Yang was about to make her final bow. “It’s back on,” Cutrone said. And so it was, as Yang made it to the top of stairs.