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Feng shui guru David Raney has improved the vibes and struck a perfect balance for everything from the Hype offices to Donna Karan's flagship store

When David Raney walked into the DKNY store on Madison Avenue in New York, the feng shui master immediately sensed something was awry. Donna Karan had hired Raney precisely for his expertise in the ancient Chinese science to ensure a harmonious atmosphere where retail success and spiritual serenity would reign. As he contemplated the space, it became clear the shoe department had been misplaced. "It was in the north corner," Raney explains matter-of-factly. "That's an area that tends to be lower-flow energy. Shoes are so important, especially because your power base is found in the sole of the foot."

That was it. He spoke, and the shoe department was moved.

Karan isn't the only one in the fashion world who consults Raney. Though the interior designer favors the pure essence of sandalwood because of its "cleansing properties," he is far from hippie-chic. His upscale clients include Hugo Boss, Broadway diva Betty Buckley, and the new Sally Hershberger at John Frieda salon in West Hollywood, Calif.

Feng shui, which literally means "wind and water," is an environmental science that considers how cosmic universal cycles influence the five natural elements we find in our living spaces--earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. It's Raney's job to assess his clients' environments and determine where "karmic fine-tuning" can create mundane benefits like allowing them to get a good night's sleep or more grand results like bringing success and fame.

Terry Sweeney, Lanier Laney, and Scott King, the gay creators and executive producers of the new sketch comedy show Hype [see page 89], all have hired Raney to redesign their homes and offices. "I used to call it `phony shui,'" explains Laney, who is also Sweeney's life partner. …