Natacha Rambova

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Natacha Rambova : biography

January 19, 1897 – June 5, 1966

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1917 The Woman God Forgot § Costume designer
1920 Why Change Your Wife? § Costume designer
1920 Something to Think About § Art director, costume designer
1920 Billions Art director, costume designer
1921 Forbidden Fruit § Costume designer
1921 Camille § Art director, costume designerUncredited
1921 Aphrodite Art director, costume designer (never made)
1922 Beyond the Rocks § Valentino’s costumes
1922 The Young Rajah Costume designerUncredited
1923 A Doll’s House Art director, costume designer
1923 Salomé § Art director, costume designer, writerCredited as Peter M. Winters
1924 The Hooded Falcon Costume designer, set decorator, writer (never made)
1924 Monsieur Beaucaire § Costume designer, writer
1924 A Sainted Devil Art director, costume designer, writer
1925 What Price Beauty? Producer, writer
1925 When Love Grows Cold Margaret Benson Only film as an actress

§ Indicates surviving films

Design in film

Rambova returned and began touring with the Kosloff company. In addition to dancing she began costume designing as well. After the tour ended Kosloff had been hired by Cecil B. DeMille to perform as well as contribute designs. Rambova joined him and was dismayed to find herself as part of Kosloff’s "arty harem". Kosloff had taken several lovers amongst the dancers, who would perform with his company, teach at his studio, and assist him uncredited in his film work.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 131-132 Rambova took to researching historical accuracy for her designs, which Kosloff would then use without giving her credit, stealing her sketches and claiming them as his own.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 132

Kosloff met fellow Russian Alla Nazimova and convinced her to use his services for her an upcoming planned project based on Aphrodite. Kosloff sent Rambova to show sketches to Nazimova, claiming they were his own when they were actually Rambova’s. Nazimova was impressed and when she asked for revisions to some costumes, Rambova took out a pencil and began to make the revisions, showing that she had done the work. Nazimova offered Rambova a position on her production staff as an art director and costume designer. The work would pay up to $5,000 a picture.

Rambova’s work had been used in four DeMille films, including Why Change Your Wife? (1920), which featured Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan, before her signing with Nazimova. Metro feared censors’ reactions, and thus the Aphrodite picture was never made. Her first film for Nazimova was Billions in 1920. She met Rudolph Valentino on the set of Uncharted Seas in 1921. They began working together on Camille soon after. Hans Poelzig and Emil-Jaques Ruhlmann were her inspiration for various sets on the film. Rambova was determined to bring the art deco look to America, as it was transforming film making in Europe.Leider, Emily. "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino" page 135 The film flopped, with many contemporary critics finding it too odd. The failure of "Camille" eventually led Metro to terminate Nazimova’s contract.