Olivia Newton-John’s iconic Grease outfit goes for $586,283 at auction


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“You’re the… [outfit] that I want”.

Throughout the history of film, there are a number of outfits, looks and costumes that became instantly iconic from the second they appeared on screen—think: Grace Kelly’s Edith Head-designed white and black gown in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 mystery, Rear Window; Julia Roberts in the red off-the-shoulder gown in Pretty Woman; Michelle Pfeiffer in black latex as Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns; Cher’s (played by Alicia Silverstone) yellow plaid look in Clueless; and Olivia Newton-John playing clean living Sandy turned a rebellious biker girl in the 1978 classic, Grease.

And, while you can pick up many iconic film costume replicas at the local costume shop for Halloween, or for a themed costume party, or even just to have in the wardrobe for fans of that particular costume or character, owning the original worn by the actor or actress in the film is an entirely different proposition that appeals to both fans and movie memorabilia collectors alike.

Costumes and props from film sets have long remained highly coveted items, creating fierce bidding wars when they go up for auction, and in the case of one particular item—the maltese falcon from the famous 1941 noir mystery movie of the same name—prompting intriguing urban myths about the ownership and location of the prop in question.

So, it should come as no surprise that when Olivia Newton-John’s memorable black biker “bad girl Sandy” outfit from Grease went up for auction, it fetched an eye-wateringly large auction price. According to the BBC, the legendary outfit consisting of skinny black pants, an off-the-shoulder top and leather jacket—which was worn by Olivia Newton-John when she flips the switch from sweet, buttoned-up, good girl Sandy to leather-clad, biker siren Sandy in the flick—fetched US$405,700 (approximately AU$586,283) at a recent auction. 

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in a scene from Grease. Image credit: supplied

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in a scene from Grease. Image credit: supplied

Per the BBC, the identity of the buyer has not been made public, but we’re guessing they were channelling the classic Grease song “You’re the one that I want” when they outbid everyone else to secure the iconic outfit. The BBC notes that the sky-high bid was “more than double the expected bid”.

A number of other items were also auctioned at the same time from the film, including the original script, with the total auction proceeds a reported US$2.4 million (approximately AU$3.5 million). The BBC reports that some of the proceeds from the auction “will go towards Newton-John’s cancer treatment centre”—the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre.

In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Now To Love reports the singer and Grease star spoke about her 2017 cancer diagnosis, which was her third, having already been diagnosed with and beaten cancer twice before.

“I see it as something in my body that I’m getting rid of. I don’t talk about a battle or a war. I let it go and tell it to leave and talk to my body and tell it to heal itself,” the Grease star reportedly said in the interview.