Natacha Rambova (January 19, 1897 – 5 June 1966) was a designer of costumes and decorated, artistic director, screenwriter, film producer and occasional actress American nationality, who worked in the silent film era. Later dedicated to design fashion and Egyptology.

Early years

His real name was Winifred Shaughnessy, and was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father, Michael Shaughnessy, had fought for the Union during the American civil war. His mother, Winifred Kimball, was the granddaughter of the Patriarch mormon Heber C. Kimball.[ 1 ] Rambova mother was married four times, finally deciding to her wedding with the perfume mogul Richard Hudnut. Rambova was adopted by his stepfather, turning to be the legal name of Winifred Hudnut.[ 1 ] For his unruly conduct was sent to a strict boarding British, where he learned ballet, French, drawing and mythology.

Career as a dancer

Rambova was endowed with ballet and studied with Rosita Mauri in the Opera Garnier during summers. He frequently travelled to London to see performers such as Pavlova, Nijinsky and Theodore Kosloff. Just before the outbreak of World War I, Rambova returned to San Francisco, California, where insisted to his family in his desire to dedicate himself to the ballet.[ 2 ] He was finally allowed to travel to the city of New York, where he studied under Kosloff orders. At that time, age 17, changed its name to Natacha Rambova. With Kosloff played first female roles working with him on the Russian Ballet Company.

Rambova fell in love with Kosloff, aged 32, married and with an invalid daughter in Europe, and the pair began a stormy relationship. The artist’s mother accused of rape and kidnapping to Kosloff, waiting to be deported.[ 3 ] Rambova, in order to hide his mother moved to New York and subsequently Canada and England. Finally, the charges were dropped.

Film design

Upon his return, Rambova went on tour with Kosloff company. Besides dancing, began designing costumes. After the tour, Kosloff was hired by Cecil B. DeMille to act and to work in his designs, collaborating Rambova with him.[ 4 ] Kosloff took Rambova designs using them as themselves.

Kosloff met Russian actress Alla Nazimova, and sent him to Rambova so show you designs, which claimed as themselves, when really were it. Nazimova ended up learning that Rambova was the designer, therefore offered a position as artistic director and costume, designer offering $5,000 per film.

Before signing for Nazimova, Rambova work was used in four films DeMille, including Why Change Your Wife?, played by Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan. His first title with Nazimova was Billions, in 1920. Met Rudolph Valentino on the set of Uncharted Seas in 1921, beginning to work together in Camille. Hans Poelzig and Emil-Jacques Ruhlmann were his inspiration for several sets of the film, and Rambova was determined to bring the art deco United States, movement that was transforming cinema in Europe. The film failed, and finally the Metro decided to end his contract with Nazimova.

In 1922 Rambova also left the Metro to work on productions from Nazimova, being your next design of the film A Doll’s House.[ 8 ] Salomé Rambova designs based on drawings by Aubrey Beardsley.[ 9 ] In addition to costume design, Rambova contributed to the screenplay for the film under the alias “Peter M. Winters”. The film was a box office failure, and was one of the latest releases from Nazimova, apart from being his last collaboration with Rambova.

Influence on the career of Valentino

Valentino signed with the Famous Players-Lasky company in 1921 and Rambova began designing costumes for the next film actor, The Young Rajah.This film was one of the biggest failures of Valentino.

Later, Valentino hired a new manager, George Ullman. Ullman was suggested to Valentino and Rambova take part in a tour of dance to help the promotion of the actor and keep his name in the spotlight. The couple agreed, and the tour was a great success. In the same Rambova appeared under the name of Winifred Hudnut.

Once completed the tour, Valentino and Rambova married.[ 13 ] In 1924 Rambova had negotiated a contract with J.D. Williams to Valentino signed for Ritz Carlton Pictures. At that point, the press began to blame Rambova errors in the career of Valentino, since she was his main adviser.

After two years without shooting, Valentino returned with Monsieur Beaucaire, movie Rambova was Artistic Director and costume designer. Despite his big-budget film was unsuccessful, and took most of the blame her.

Marriage started working on the next film of Valentino, A Sainted Devil. Rambova took control of production, especially clothing and cast. Although Joseph Henabery was director, Rambova unofficially replaced. Again Rambova designed some very lavish costumes working alongside two designers, Norman Norell and Adrian, who would later have successful careers. However, also A Sainted Devil was a flop, heavily damaging the race Valentino

After that, the couple put their hopes in The Hooded Falcon. Rambova wrote the argument and again worked in production. The script was commissioned originally June Mathis. However, the project had problems from the outset, both distribution and financing.

In addition, during production Rambova frequently collided with friends from Valentino.[ 20 ] Rambova also took the decision to change the script, which led to the end of the marriage relationship with Mathis.

With The Hooded Falcon postponed, Valentino was pressed to start Cobra. Most of the cast of The Hooded Falcon also worked on Cobra and single Rambova took part in two scenes of abandoning the project, after having disputes with several actors  Cobra was also a failure, with what fame and the race Valentino were questioned. Finally decided to indefinitely postpone The Hooded Falcon. Valentino finally signed a contract with United Artists, provided Rambova does not take part in his films.

Career as an actress

As compensation, Rambova received $30,000 to make a film in its sole discretion. Do so, she started working in What Price Beauty?, film that he wrote and produced, and in which he also acted. It was starring Nita Naldi, and debuted on the screen in a small role future star Myrna Loy.[ 24 ] Once started divorce Valentino, Rambova produced and performed another film Do Clothes Make the Woman?, in which she co-starred with Clive Brook. The tape was eventually retitled When Love Grows Cold. Rambova became very upset when distribution she was called “Mrs. Valentino”, and because of this not returned to acting in the film.

After the death of Valentino, Rambova appeared in vaudeville and on Broadway. He also wrote a piece that did not represent, All that Glitters, supposedly detailing his life with Valentino.[ 26 ]

Final race

Rambova opened a shop Haute Couture on Fifth Avenue in 1927, which remained active until 1934.[ 27 ] With her second husband, was devoted to the purchase of properties in Mallorca, modernizing for tourists.

After divorcing her second husband, Rambova remained France until the German invasion during the Second World War, in which he returned to New York time.

In the 1940s Rambova was interested again by metaphysics, giving financial support to the Bollingen Foundation.[ At that time he published several articles on healing and Astrology. Finally helped decipher Egyptian inscriptions, and edited a series of publications entitled “Egyptian Texts and Religious Representations”. Also lectured on mythology, symbolism, and comparative religion.

Relationships and marriages

The first Rambova sentimental relationship was with Theodore Kosloff. She was 17 years old and he 32. The relationship was stormy and Kosloff reached firing a shot in the leg to Rambova fact she did not complain.

Rudolph Valentino

Rambova met Valentino on the set of Uncharted Seas in 1921, and began to work with him shortly after the film Camille.

They began to live together after a year, but had to separate while it lasted Valentino with Jean Acker divorce process. Once divorced actor, were married on May 13, 1922 in Mexicali, Mexico. However the law required that you pass a year before to remarry, whereupon Valentino was arrested for bigamy. June Mathis, George Melford and Thomas Meighan paid bail. Finally, both turned remarried, this time lawfully, March 14, 1923, living until then separated.

Although both shared similar passions, Valentino and Rambova were very different in their conception of domestic and personal life. Thus, Valentino wanted to have children, something to denying Rambova, which, according to Nita Naldi, would have had three miscarriages.[ 29 ]

Rambova congeniaba nor with family and friends of Valentino and marriage began to suffer on the allegations that the press launched against Rambova blaming the failure of her husband. Rambova left Valentino per month for the filming of The Eagle, it began shortly after announcing the separation.[ 30 ]

Urzaiz Alvaro

Rambova met Álvaro Urzaiz on a trip to Europe in 1934. Urzaiz was a Spanish, Aristocrat with British education. Rambova moved to live with him to the island of Mallorca. When the Spanish Civil war broke out, Urzaiz was part of national side, becoming a naval commander. Rambova moved to nice, where he suffered myocardial attack at the age of 40. Shortly after the marriage divorced.[ 27 ]


In the mid-1960s was affected by a Scleroderma, produced by malnutrition and delusions. A cousin moved to Pasadena, California, where he died in 1966 from a heart attack. He was 69 years old. It was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Arizona.


Year       Film        Paper    Comments

1917       The Woman God Forgot §                            Costume designer

1920       Why Change Your Wife? §                           Costume designer

Something to Think About §                       Artistic Director, costume designer

Billions                  Artistic Director, costume designer

1921       Forbidden Fruit §                             Costume designer

Camille §                              Artistic Director, costume designer


Aphrodite                           Artistic Director, (not filmed) costume designer

1922       Beyond the Rocks §                        Valentino dress

The Young Rajah                              Costume designer


1923       A doll’s House                    Artistic Director, costume designer

Salomé §                             Artistic Director, costume, designer screenwriter

Credited as Peter M. Winters

1924       The Hooded Falcon                         Decorator, screenwriter (not filmed), costume designer

Monsieur Beaucaire §                    Costume, designer screenwriter

To Sainted Devil                                Artistic Director, costume, designer screenwriter

1925       What Price Beauty?                        Producer, writer

When Love Grows Cold                 Margaret Benson             As an actress