The enduring image of Olivia Newton-John may always be one of permed hair, bare shoulders and black spandex on the set of “Grease”. But the late actress and singer, who died Monday aged 73, was a fashion icon before — and long after — the blockbuster musical.
Emerging in the early 1970s with a string of hit singles, Newton-John came to typify the decade’s anything-goes fashion. She put a glamorous spin on the bohemian aesthetic, seemingly as comfortable in sparkling bodysuits and evening gowns as she was in bell-bottoms and miniskirts.
Olivia Newton-John at a press call for “Grease” in London in 1978. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Her turn in “Grease” heralded a throwback to the leather-clad 1950s but, off-screen, Newton-John was already ahead of the ’80s curve. Opting for shorter hair and bright colors, she also helped establish the era’s activewear trend (while cementing headbands as one its hottest accessories) with her unforgettable music video for 1981’s “Physical.”
In the decades that followed, Newton-John continued to epitomize understated elegance, whether at Hollywood awards, premieres or film festivals. Yet, she was never afraid to bring out a nostalgic pair of skin-tight black pants or a leather jacket in honor of the movie that made her a global star.
Swipe through the gallery above for Olivia Newto-John’s style highlights.