FASHION & TRENDS

5 Absolutely Wild Stories About Gucci Heiress Patrizia Reggiani

Lady Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci alongside Adam Driver as her husband and Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci. The stylish crime drama follows the couple as they marry, adopt the ultra-glamorous lifestyle that made them famous, and eventually separate (Gucci left Reggiani for a younger lover). Reggiani’s response? Tasking a hitman with murdering her ex in 1995. 

On the occasion of the film’s November 24 release, Vogue revisits the most outrageous stories about the convicted murderess through the years.

  1. Even in the generally flashy ’70s, the Guccis’ lavishness made headlines. Following their marriage in 1972, the pair regularly decamped to their chalet in St. Moritz, their 9,000-square-foot 5th Avenue penthouse in Manhattan’s Olympic Tower, or their 214-foot-long wooden yacht, The Creole. That’s before mentioning their villa in Acapulco, Mexico, their farm in rural Connecticut, or their various private islands dotted around the world. The license plates on their innumerable cars read “Mauizia”—the original couple name—while Patrizia spent thousands of dollars a month on orchids alone. Then there were the themed “color” parties that she regularly held for her glittering circle, which included the Kennedys, where the clothes, décor, and food were all of a single hue—orange being her favorite.
  2. After her conviction for her role in Maurizio’s murder, Patrizia received a 26-year prison sentence. “I slept a lot,” she told The Guardian of her incarceration. “I took care of my plants. I looked after Bambi, my pet ferret.” According to Reggiani, her lawyer negotiated her right to have Bambi with her in her cell, a special privilege. This ultimately proved less than ideal for the ferret, who died after one of her fellow inmates sat on him. Fortunately (or not), she seems to have found another animal companion. Almost immediately after leaving prison in 2016, she headed to Milan’s equivalent of Madison Avenue, Via Monte Napoleone, wearing dark sunglasses and lashings of gold jewelry, while a pet macaw perched on her shoulder. She can still be spotted around the city’s more upscale neighborhoods with the parrot most weekends.
  3. Following her release from San Vittore, Reggiani became a tabloid fixture yet again. At one point, a TV crew managed to ambush her leaving the premises of Bozart, the jewelry boutique where she deigned to work as a consultant. “Patrizia, why did you hire a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci?” queried a reporter. “Why didn’t you shoot him yourself?” Her deadpan response: “My eyesight is not so good—I didn’t want to miss.” (Note that during her stint at Bozart she managed to accidentally wipe out the company’s entire digital archives. “We had to unplug her computer from the internet,” owner Maurizio Manca told The Times. “The problem is they had only just invented the fax machine when she went into jail.”) In a recent documentary about her life, she gave some further insight into her choice to hire someone to murder her ex. “I was furious with Maurizio. I went around asking everyone, even the local grocer, is there someone who has the courage to murder my husband?” In the end, her fortune-teller led her to the debt-ridden pizzeria owner Benedetto Ceraulo, who accepted a cool $300,000 to do the deed.                        
  4. Over the years, Reggiani has told reporters that she loved and despised prison, depending on her mood—although she refuses to actually use the word “prisoner” to describe herself, instead referring to her “stay at Vittore Residence.” She did, however, famously turn down the right to parole, which would have required her to get a job. “I’ve never worked in my life, and I don’t intend to start now,” she told a predictably bemused Italian court. The declaration echoed one of her favorite sayings during her jet-set years with Maurizio. “It’s better to cry in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”
  5. Even after all these years, Reggiani still considers herself a Gucci first and foremost, and would love a creative role at the house. In fact, many of her friends have questioned the media narrative that her decision to have Maurizio murdered stemmed from jealousy over his affair—instead claiming that she felt his real betrayal to be the sale of the Gucci brand. “They need me,” she told La Repubblica, with her signature modesty. “I still feel like a Gucci—in fact, the most Gucci of them all.” To be fair, she did insist on wearing head-to-toe Gucci looks throughout her murder trial. Your move, Alessandro Michele.

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