Cardin woos Casanova to Marquis de Sade's castle

Mon Jul 5, 2010 10:53am EDT
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By JR Daeschner

LACOSTE, France (Reuters Life!) - Casanova will set out to seduce theater-lovers this month on the old whipping grounds of his fellow roué, the Marquis de Sade.

And the man who's bringing the two together is a legend in his own right: Pierre Cardin, the modern master of de Sade's domain.

The 87-year-old fashion designer (who turns 88 on July 7) began restoring the castle of the Marquis a decade ago as part of his controversial plan to turn this hamlet some 60 miles (100km) north of Marseille into "the St. Tropez of culture."

The French premiere of "Casanova: Love and Betrayal in Venice" on Bastille Day (July 14) marks the 10th anniversary of the "Festival de Lacoste," Cardin's attempt to bring big-city culture to the Provencal countryside.

Performances take place in the open-air theater constructed by Cardin in the chateau's quarry-on the grounds where the Marquis staged his own theatrical productions, both respectable and obscene.

Depending on the year, Cardin's fest ranges from the Sade-centric to the eccentric, usually with a nod to the brand-savvy designer's pet projects.

This summer's line-up features "Le Petit Groom de Chez Maxim's," a farce set in the Parisian landmark that Cardin bought in the early 1980s and has since turned into a global chain of restaurants and hotels.

THE CASANOVA CONNECTION The Casanova connection is also close to Cardin's heart -- he's even designed the costumes for the show himself.   Continued...