Italian princess prepares sexy Paris cabaret turn

Paris: French actress Clotilde Courau, princess of Savoy and member of the former royal house of Italy, is to celebrate sexual freedom on the stage of Paris` palace of striptease, the Crazy Horse.

For 25 nights, the wife of Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, son of Vittorio Emanuele, son of Umberto II the last king of Italy, will star in an erotic cabaret revue featuring suggestive songs and sexy dances.

And, as French lawmakers voted this week to ban the Muslim full-face veil, Courau said her act was designed to celebrate female sexual freedom.

"I have no obligations, aside from those I set myself," she told AFP in a break from rehearsals for her show, which starts on Sunday.

"With the rise of extremist views, of which women are often the first victims, I think my position is quite important -- defending femininity, eroticism and freedom," she explained.

Courau is well known in France as a stage and film actress, including for a role in the recent double Oscar-winning Edith Piaf biopic "La Mome", which was distributed internationally as "La Vie en Rose".

At the Crazy Horse, where she succeeds American burlesque artiste Dita Von Teese and Canadian television actress and pin-up Pamela Anderson, she will star in four erotic tableaux directed by designer Ali Mahdavi.

In one set piece she appears as an elegant femme fatale in a lace dress, crooning: "When night falls gently, I have my candy sucked, I have my fishy stroked, I have my shirt starched and I have my apricot touched up.

"And what do I do during the day, you ask? Oh that`s easy. By day, I quite simply like to fuck."

In another sequence she appears as a sexy prison inmate -- dressed by Italian couturier Roberto Cavalli -- subject to the explicit caresses of her similarly well-dressed lesbian jailers.

"I wanted to play a fiery woman who finds herself in jail and becomes someone else`s prey, as if she was a victim of her own liberty," she said.

Despite joining the European aristocracy in 2003, when she wed Swiss-based hedge fund manager Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont, the 41-year-old mother of two has always placed artistic freedom ahead of protocol.

Bureau Report