In Inventing Anna, a journalist with a lot to prove investigates the case of Anna Delvey, the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene – and stole their money as well. But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream? Anna and the reporter form a dark, funny love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: who is Anna Delvey? The series from Shondaland is inspired by the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler.
Vivian Kent (Anna Chlumsky), Anna Delvey (Julia Garner), Todd (Arian Moayed), Jack (Anders Holm), Maud (Anna Deavere Smith), Lou (Jeff Perry), Barry (Terry Kinney), Rachel (Katie Lowes), Neff (Alexis Floyd), Kacy Duke (Laverne Cox), Nora Radford (Kate Burton), Paul (Tim Guinee), ADA Catherine McCaw (Rebecca Henderson), Alan Reed (Anthony Edwards), Landom Bloom (Armand Schultz), Alexi (Kyle Beltran), and David Morrison (Chris Cafero).
Costume design was driven by the social media element, which in itself, is its own character on the 9 episode series. Outfits were recreations of everything the real Anna Delvey wore. Research was 100 percent about looking into social media, the first time Costume Designer Lyn Paolo had ever worked that way to develop costumes for a show. "It was an exercise in costume design" she had never experienced before.
THE LOOK IN A FEW WORDS
Fresh. New York. Youthful.
SYMBOLIC WARDROBE MOMENTS
The baby doll dress, in particular. When Anna goes to see Anthony Edward's character, Alan Reed, for the first time, to ask for millions of dollars, she's so inappropriately dressed in a little baby doll dress. There are a lot of interwoven storylines that wrap around clothing; a lot of people talk about what Anna Delvey wore.
THE COLOR PALETTE
Everything worked around Anna Delvey's environment and who was she interacting with, her palette changes accordingly. There are many versions of Anna. Part of the fun of the Inventing Anna storyline is that we never know which Anna we're going to see at any given moment.
THE PRINTS, PATTERNS, + TEXTURES
Anna Chlumsky's character, Vivian, mixed patterns. For the Anna Delvey character, textures were key. She's at the art gallery looking at modern art, wearing Dolce & Gabbana, and there's a Renaissance painting pattern on the shoes. It was a completely matched outfit. She's looking at paintings, but she's wearing paintings in the scene, too. "Those are the fun moments for a costume designer", says Lyn Paolo
KEY ITEMS + ELEMENTS
Neff wears a lot of vintage earrings because costume designer Lyn Paolo was obsessed by all the vintage stores on location in Brooklyn. For Neff, it's platform shoes, big earrings, palazzo pants, and a fur coat. Anna, a Birkin, Prada suit, Dolce shoes, in black or purple. For Rachel it's clothing by Boden or Theory; a lot of Nike sneakers for running around the city around the city, and a tote bag. For Kacy it's Lululemon, the newest bodycon, and a lot of Piazza Sempione. For Kate Burton's Nora Radford, it was all either Oscar or all Dior. For Anna Chlumsky's Vivian Kent, the wardrobe is worn-in and never ironed, it's made to look like she didn't really care about clothes.
THE BRANDS + RESOURCES
Rubin Singer, Paul Smith, Dolce + Gabbana, Burberry, Prada, Dior, Piazza Sempione, Lululemon, Vintage stores in Brooklyn.
NOTES ON THE PROJECT
The idea was to capture New York. After Covid hit, it was really important. Capturing a microcosm of New York City right before it closed, was "kind of is like a little historic document", says Lyn Paolo.
Creator and writer Shonda Rhimes writes Lyn Paolo's costume design right into the script, "Neff walks into a room, she's badass, or she's whatever Lyn Paolo says she is." Shonda and Lyn only share the fitting images amongst themselves, and then collaborate, discuss and decide what works and what doesn't. Paolo says, "it's a very special relationship in that it's just Shonda and I, there is no other input from anyone. And in our creative world where there are so many voices, that is a gift. " For the series' many hotel scenes Paolo and her team created uniforms that included those for 60 bellboys.
WEARING THE INVENTING ANNA LOOK NOW
Neff: Platform shoes, big earrings, palazzo pants, a fur coat. Anna: Prada suits, Dolce + Gabbana shoes, and a base of black and purple. Rachel: Easy, mid range fashion from brands like Boden and Theory, with tiny rings, Nike sneakers, a tote bag. Kacy Duke: Lululemon, bodycon separates, Piazza Sempione.
COSTUME DESIGNER LYN PAOLO
Lyn Paolo is an Emmy-Award winning costume designer known for her iconic work on ER, The West Wing, Scandal, Little Fires Everywhere, Inventing Anna, Netflix's upcoming Queen Charlotte, and more. Born in England, Lyn now resides in Los Angeles with her family. She has a passion for mentorship and teaching, and is working on a book. Her work has been covered extensively by major fashion and entertainment press, and she has been honored to speak at numerous venues, from the The Savannah College of Art and Design to the WWD Fashion Forum about the increasing intersection of fashion and costume.
Production Designer Henry Dunn wanted the sets to "gallop along", except for the prison. He wanted Manhattan Magazine to hum with activity, the set virtually demanding that it be filled with people typing. Overall, a feeling of movement and liveliness was key.
THE MOOD + FEEL
Layered and lively, with the except of the prison. A sense of forward motion within each space. Nora's apartment is eclectic and filled with conversation pieces; it's a showpiece itself. Nora's home is crazy and rich. Vivian's apartment is bohemian, and was designed to be "a realistic first apartment for a pair of intellectuals." Manhattan Magazine was designed to be 100% stylish, scrappy, and real. Todd and Mags' home is tasteful, old money, muted., and while everything has a high-end finish, they've got nothing to prove. Show creator Shonda Rhimes wanted the 12 George to feel like a "kids camp."
KEY ITEMS + ELEMENTS
Mags' opulent shoe closet; framed necklaces on the walls at the Hotel Mamounia; the major artwork seen throughout the series; various wallpapers; the curated book selection in Vivian's apartment; the over 200 magazine covers displayed at Manhattan Magazine.
THE BRANDS + RESOURCES
The production team worked closely with Artists Rights Society to feature the prominent works of art seen throughout the series. La Cornue; antiques shops and secondhand stores; flea markets; Etsy; Roche Bobois, Ligne Roset; Phillips Collection; Theodore Alexander; Shades Of White; Arteriors; wallpaper from Pierre Frey, Kravet, Osborne + Little, Cole + Sons, Wolf-Gordon, and more.
The 12 George, based on the 11 Howard Hotel, did not want Inventing Anna to be shot within their space, "even though they were one of the few who ever got paid by Anna," production designer Henry Dunn says. Visually, the 12 George completely differs from the minimalist hotel it's based on, resembling the nearby Crosby Street Hotel instead. Vivian's walk-up apartment was created with her pregnancy in mind, though many of the scenes of her having difficulty climbing stairs ended up on the cutting room floor. Nora's apartment was supposed to be filmed on location in an actual apartment setting, but once COVID hit, production was never going to get that access, so they built her entire Manhattan duplex, including a backyard. Dunn recalls, "our gaffer and DP really nailed it, and made it look like sunlight was streaming in." Nora's striking blue kitchen features a custom La Cornue oven and stove that Inventing Anna's key grip bought and had transported to his own country house. Manhattan Magazine's graphics and tear sheets were created to help make the office environment look lived in and real; Dustin Neiderman, the team's lead graphic designer, made over 200 mock-magazine covers to adorn the walls of the office. The famed Los Angeles hotel, Chateau Marmont, seen in the series, was a set that was built in New York. The team also built Todd's WeWork office, which was "massive," into a building---and then got kicked out because a long-term tenant was found for the space. WeWork had to be completely rebuilt onstage. While shooting at Mamounia, the hotel staff remembered Anna Delvey, and helped give direction in terms of her behaviors. The actual manager who'd thrown Delvey out years earlier was still there. "Everybody there remembered her," Dunn says
NOTES ON THE PROJECT
"One of the fun challenges of working on Inventing Anna was being able to depict all the different socio-economic strata, and being able to visually document Anna's trip on the express elevator up to her height, and equally express trip, right back down."-Production Designer Henry Dunn. Set Decorator Susan Ogu says, "It was a rewarding experience, filled with many innovative ways of working through COVID".