Anna Bolina Is a Main Event

Anna Bolina Is a Main Event

Story by Ivan Guzman / Photography by Kohl Murdock
Feb 15, 2024

Anna Bolina will never be an afterthought. In fact, for the downtowners who have witnessed her rise in real-time the past few years — those who have seen the signature tube dresses pop up more and more on every street corner and Instagram story — the designer’s show is actually the main event.

No, we may not see the official New York Fashion Week social channels covering the former stripper’s otherworldly presentations, but at this point, it’s an iykyk type thing: every season, the real ones huddle inside whatever space is designated like a biannual mandatory meeting. In formation, they wait to see what phase of evolution the "Anna Bolina girl" will take on like Pokemon.

This year, we are transported to a warehouse in Brooklyn where there are three sections of dangerously steep compact bleachers in a circle and a general admission standing area. The crowd faces a four-pronged platform structure with black fencing and vanity mirrors on each corner. As suspense builds, attendees roll spliffs and catch up. Some just stare deadpan with shades on. Then the show begins.

With sound courtesy of Sausha De La Ossa, the Fall 2024 presentation evaded a linear runway and instead opted for this cubical colosseum where the models eerily walked through each subsection, looked in the mirror and then moved onto the next extension. It was like a choose-your-own-adventure video game where the players wore versions of Anna Bolina’s power puffers and mysterious, hooded garments. For those watching, like Sophia Lamar and Isabella Lovestory, it was a fashion head rush.

It’s easy to say that Anna Bolina collections are about fantasy and femininity, but to me, it’s really become more about community. Anna herself, whether she cares to be or not, has become a lovable figure for the true gritty underground to rally around. There’s just this rare, unifying quality to her and her visual universe that leaves people wanting more, only made stronger by the fact that big corporations are so unashamed in their knockoffs of her designs.

But blatant plagiarism aside, a boomerang always comes back. That’s why, every fashion week, the line is around the block. The energy in the room is the most palpable, all the while Anna Bolina plots for what’s next.

Photography: Kohl Murdock