Sunday, 27 February 2011

Style Icon XVIII: Rudolph Valentino

I have already written about him on this site but he could not be omitted from the roll call:

He is seen with his second wife, Natacha Rambova (really called Winifred Hudnut!), who gave him a platinum slave bracelet (visible on his right wrist in the photograph), which he never removed and, indeed, it provoked a critical editorial from a journalist and a great deal of acrimony. He still wore it after the divorce from Rambova and his manager, George Ullman, said that he was entombed wearing it - which makes sense to me because who, except a thief, would have had the heart to remove it? Moreover, Ullman orchestrated the funeral and would have seen Valentino in the coffin. However, I have discovered a report that a platinum chain was shown in a glass case, under guard, at the auction of Valentino's possessions, in December 1926 but no one seems to know for sure what happened to it; which is amazing for something that was so famous at the time and, maybe, suggests that the chain shown at the auction (and, presumably, sold) was not the chain; if that is right, the new owner probably knew this and so it just sank into obscurity, while the famous chain is still on Valentino. I rather hope so.

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