Coinciding with the launch of the Lola turban hat comes a little bit of style inspiration for you. While researching turban hats and their place in fashion history, I couldn't ignore the beguiling images of Natacha Rambova and I felt compelled to dive into her story.
And what a story she had! Rambova led a multi-faceted life leaving her distinctive mark on the worlds of ballet, Hollywood, and high fashion in the early twentieth century.
A rambunctious and determined character with endless creativity and a penchant for glamour, Rambova's journey from ballet dancer to a renowned art director, set designer, fashion designer, and eventually a celebrated Egyptologist, serves as a fascinating tour through the realms of culture and creativity.
LIFE & CAREER
Born Winifred Shaughnessy in 1897, Rambova's journey began aged 17 in the world of ballet, where she danced for Theodore Kosloff's Russian Ballet in New York under the stage name Natacha Rambova, a moniker that would become synonymous with creativity and style. Not only a principal dancer, she was highly creative, designing sets and costumes for the performances that brought the Ballet fame and fortune.
Immersing herself in Hollywood circles, Rambova quickly established herself in Los Angeles as a Hollywood costume designer and art director. Collaborating with luminaries like Alla Nazimova, she contributed to films such as Camille (1921), Salome (1923), and Monsieur Beaucaire (1924), showcasing her historically accurate approach and bringing Art Deco modernism to life on the silver screen.
Her relationship with Rudolph Valentino, one of Hollywood's biggest stars at the time, added another layer to her celebrity status. Rambova’s impeccable fashion sense became the topic of international delight and intrigue. She was also instrumental in shaping Valentino’s image and creating the first male sex symbol, which catapulted him into fame, although not without controversy.
After Valentino's untimely death in 1926, she turned away from Hollywood, moving to New York to produce her own fashions in her characteristic Russian bohemian style, pulling exotic influences from a wide variety of historical and cultural interests, namely Orientalism, that were prevalent at the time.
Later in the 1930s when post-war economic downturn would close her business, Rambova married an aristocrat and settled in Europe. She later found a spiritual connection on a trip to Egypt which sparked a fascination with Egyptolgy that she would devote herself to for the remainder of her life.
"I want to dress in a way that is becoming to me, whether it is the style of the hour or not."
Rambova's style was truly a tapestry woven with threads of her personal experiences, education, and a deep appreciation for diverse cultures. She was a great believer in in dressing for the individual and wearing what suits you, rather than following trends. A key element of her trademark look was the turban, a distinctive accessory that reflected her bohemian spirit.
A great beauty with her long flowing hair coiled up in signature braids around her head, Rambova's wardrobe included flowing dresses and exuberant brocades, furs, headscarves and jewels. Her opulent tastes saw actress Myrna Loy once proclaim her the "most beautiful woman she'd ever seen."
Rambova's style was eclectic and she found a kinship with European designers like Paul Poiret and Mariano Fortuny who equally shared a fascination for Orientalism. In fact Poiret designed a whole collection just for her.
Her love for international styles, mythology, and mysticism really comes through in both her work and personal style, always highly decorative and opulent featuring bright colors, baubles, bangles, and shimmering fabrics. Her commitment to historical accuracy shone through on the big screen, her meticulous research and attention to detail widely celebrated.
NATACHA RAMBOVA STYLE & LEGACY
A true style icon, Natacha Rambova's fascinating journey from ballerina to Hollywood's art director and, eventually, a renowned fashion designer, reflects a life lived in pursuit of artistic expression. Her influence on fashion, particularly her trademark turbans and eclectic style, continues to endure in mainstream fashion today. Her designs were incredibly influential and fashion historians count her as an icon of the 20th century, with a deserving place in the Costume Designers' Guild Hall of Fame.
Now you can steal Rambova's enigmatic style with Stylecamp's Lola turban (coiled braids are optional!). Crafted in luxurious shimmering velvet, just as Rambova herself would have admired, these twist front turban hats come fully lined and intricately pleated to reflect the light in the most beautiful way.
Cosy and elegant to wear, it's the perfect way to add a touch of vintage glamour to any look and turns everyday into an occasion.