Telling Fashion’s Fortune – The New York Times


Once upon a time, Cesare Badoglio, who places his age at “between 80 and 99,” was the spirit whisperer for a number of the brightest skills in Italian style.

At his common weekend occasions in Milan on the Hotel Verdi, Mr. Badoglio — tarot reader, astrologer, fortune teller — threw playing cards for Franco Moschino and Gianni and Donatella Versace, amongst others.

He was a continuing psychic adviser to Enrico Coveri, the colour-loving Italian designer, whose whirlwind success Mr. Badoglio claims he predicted — and even kindled — due to a imaginative and prescient of sequins that then turned the Coveri signature. The designer was so satisfied of Mr. Badoglio’s powers that he tried (and failed) to persuade the cardboard reader to hitch his enterprise. Sadly, he died in 1990 at simply 38 years outdated.

“You can’t predict everything,” Mr. Badoglio stated not too long ago, his eyes moist.

Though the Italian style world could have change into marginally much less superstitious since then, some type insiders nonetheless search Mr. Badoglio’s predictions.

“To feel that there’s something positive on the horizon reassures me and calms me down,” stated Tania Piccioli, who works in purse manufacturing and is a devotee.

Mr. Badoglio usually tells his shoppers within the style trade to go to the Vienna cemetery the place Princess Sissi, the glamorous nineteenth-century empress of Austria, is buried. There, they’ll invoke the benevolence of the princess, who within the afterlife has, he says, made a behavior of supporting fashionable designers. “I’ve been speaking to dead people since I was a child,” Mr. Badoglio shrugged.

On the way forward for style, he predicts, maybe extra belligerently than credibly, that denims — a pattern for many years — will quickly disappear in favor of chic robes and night put on.

Mr. Badoglio wears his white hair to chin size (“Long hair is lucky when the weather is hot”) and favors striped shirts with zigzag sweaters or plaid blazers to slot in with the ornamental riot of his Florence studio. The residence was given to him by a shopper from one of many native aristocratic households, he stated, and is adorned with flowered wallpapers, mud-encrusted devotionals of saints and a Warhol-style portrait of himself.

In his pocket, there are all the time playing cards: a now ragged deck with heraldic iconography impressed, like all tarot decks, by the Renaissance princes, seraphic cherubs and different imagery drawn from hand-painted Italian enjoying playing cards of the fifteenth century.

Mr. Badoglio’s tarot studios in Florence and close by Prato are papered with pictures of him subsequent to the celebrities who’ve turned to his playing cards for steering, together with Sophia Loren, Paris Hilton, Cher, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Liza Minnelli, Prince Albert and the Dalai Lama (who laughed his means by means of the studying, Mr. Badoglio stated).

Mr. Badoglio, who wrote horoscopes for the Italian newspaper La Nazione and the gossip journal Chi, additionally aided Federico Fellini, in whose service he beseeched cemetery-dwelling spirits to bless the set of “Satyricon.”

When Franco Zeffirelli hit a inventive roadblock whereas taking pictures “The Taming of the Shrew” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Mr. Badoglio stated he found a curse on the director by sleeping within the bed room of the film’s stars. Mr. Badoglio then spent three months entreating his cemetery spirits to undo the malediction, till Mr. Zeffirelli was capable of start filming once more.

At a current studying in his Florence studio, Mr. Badoglio threw tarot playing cards onto the desk and stated: “Luck is the most important thing in this world.”

“Luck, luck again, work, travel for work, good news, well-being, longevity,” he stated of this reporter’s future, indicating every medieval illustration on his tattered playing cards with the florid gestures of a conjurer performing a magic trick.

Mr. Badoglio’s playing cards appear to repeatedly forecast good luck, which can spur skepticism, even in those that come to him for a studying. According to his model of occasions, a two-hour studying in Florence with the cardboard of fortune on the desk did not persuade Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-spouse of Maurizio Gucci who was determined to carry onto the style scion’s fortune as he deliberate to remarry, that she ought to observe his recommendation to have religion that she would retain her wealth.

Ms. Reggiani did have one other fortune teller near her, nonetheless: her good buddy, Pina Auriemma, who later confessed to arranging the homicide of Mr. Gucci and ended up in jail together with Ms. Reggiani, an actual-life crime drama portrayed within the upcoming movie “House of Gucci.” It’s primarily based on the ebook by Sara Gay Forden, who says that Ms. Reggiani turned to fortune tellers to information her, to place hexes on Mr. Gucci, and to attempt to sway occasions in her personal favor.

“Why did Patrizia believe some things and not others?” Mr. Badoglio stated. “In my cards, I have faith.”