“Fake Heiress” Anna Delvy Throws Rooftop Fashion Show in NYC While Under House Arrest

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Anna Delvy, “fake heiress” portrayed in Netflix’s hit movie “Inventing Anna” hosted a fashion show on the roof of her NYC home…while on house arrest.

Anna has been under house arrest for nearly a year, a consequence of her ongoing legal battle to avoid deportation to Germany. Her journey into the limelight started as a “fake heiress” and ended in a two-year prison sentence for grand larceny and various financial crimes, followed by an additional 18 months of detention by immigration authorities due to visa overstay and now, house arrest. Her rise, fall, and subsequent notoriety were immortalized in magazine features and a book penned by a former friend before being dramatized in the Netflix miniseries “Inventing Anna.”

Given her court-ordered ankle monitor, one might think Delvey’s participation in New York Fashion Week, or any event that required her to step outside, would be severely limited. However, fashion week came to her, courtesy of powerhouse publicist Kelly Cutrone, owner of the PR agency People’s Revolution. Together, Delvey and Cutrone formed a new venture called the “OutLaw Agency.”

Their inaugural choice for showcasing was Shao Yang, a bespoke tailor unveiling her new label, Shao. While Delvey’s penchant for designer clothing is well-documented, with her courtroom outfits garnering viral attention during her 2019 trial, her involvement in a fashion show raised eyebrows.

In a video interview with CNN the day after the show, Delvey assumed the role of a publicist and passionately endorsed the collection. “I love the clothes,” she asserted. “I would have never done this if we didn’t love the collection because, yeah, I mean, I can get publicity doing anything,” she added with a laugh. “Wouldn’t that be great press?”

"Fake Heiress" Anna Delvy Throws Rooftop Fashion Show in NYC While Under House Arrest
Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

The setting for this unconventional runway show was as unique as the host herself. Anna Delvey’s East Village apartment building served as the venue, ensuring she never had to leave the premises. Attendees, however, were met with a challenging rooftop space that had been ill-prepared for hosting a large crowd, especially after a sudden downpour just an hour prior. While Delvey didn’t secure permission from her landlord to hold the event, she did seek approval from her neighbors.

Outside, guests waited patiently, sipping drinks and smoking, while two imposing bouncers in black T-shirts and jeans controlled the entrance. One lucky neighbor was expedited past the line with her pet dachshund, allowed to pass through swiftly. The crowd continued to swell, to the point where even designer Shao Yang was nearly denied access to her own show.

Models, arriving via a double-parked party bus on the street, made a grand entrance, climbing five stories to reach the rooftop. Inside, guests, including notable figures like Nicola Formichetti and former “Real Housewives of New York” star Leah McSweeney, occupied every available inch. Some even dared to perch themselves on the building’s brick parapet, adding to the overall feeling of excitement.

After the show, Cutrone, adopting a motherly tone, cautioned models against getting too close to the rooftop’s edge for selfies, with a dry sense of humor suggesting, “What if we fell off and died? Wouldn’t that be great press?”

Shao Yang’s collection delivered a mix of sharp tailoring, pinstripe pieces, oversized shirt dresses, and denim workwear with contrasting stitching details. Amidst a predominantly black and white color palette, a high-waisted skirt in a mottled metallic silver pattern and a pop of acid neon yellow on one of the suits stood out. With models navigating a single, narrow loop in front of an air conditioning unit, there were moments when the proceedings felt a bit chaotic, though this was perhaps inevitable given the unique circumstances.

Yang, joining Delvey in the CNN interview, described her collection as “very inspired by old New York, especially the ’80s.” She emphasized the genderless nature of her designs, expressing the importance of comfort and wearability. “It’s very important for me to have clothes that are not super fussy; you should be able to love it—put it on, feel like yourself, feel great, and then walk out the door.”

Yang’s enthusiasm for the outcome of the show was palpable. She recalled her immediate enthusiasm when Cutrone presented the idea to her, acknowledging that Delvey’s notoriety might overshadow the clothes themselves. “I thought it was brilliant,” Yang said. “I feel blessed just to be a part of it because, as a new designer with a new brand, no one’s going to come to your show. No one’s going to really know about you.”

In a fashion world known for its opulence and extravagance, Anna Delvey’s rooftop fashion show at New York Fashion Week carved out a unique space, defying convention and expectations.

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