Olivia Newton-John’s Leather, ‘Grease’ Ensemble, Gave John Travolta ‘Heart Palpitations’

It was one of the most iconic moments of the 1978 film Grease, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. After embodying a good girl persona, Sandy Olsson morphed into the female version of Travolta’s greaser Danny Zuko clad in a black leather ensemble. He, in turn, became a lettered athlete to match her wholesome image. This transformation was so iconic and surprising to film viewers that it is the most iconic moment in the movie musical and caused Travolta to experience “heart palpitations.”

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the 1978 film 'Grease.'
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta | CBS via Getty Images

Olivia Newton-John and how the leather ‘Grease’ outfit became a cinematic moment

Grease fans went wild for Newton-John in her skintight black pants and leather jacket.

Her first line as the transformed Sandy was equally iconic: “Tell me about it, Stud.”

The character’s transformation was so iconic that it sparked a fashion revolution.

After the film was released, Newton-John’s red Candies mules became the “it” shoe of the late 1970s.

To this day, celebrities copy Newton-John’s final moments in Grease for Halloween, reported Newsweek.

Jessica Simpson, Kate Upton, Jenny McCarthy, Gigi Hadid, Leann Rimes, and Hailey Bieber have all sported the iconic look at one time or another.

Olivia Newton-John: Leather ‘Grease’ outfit gave John Travolta ‘heart palpitations’

In The Sunday Post, Newton-John and Travolta shared their memories of filming that iconic cinematic moment.

To transform into leather-clad Sandy, Grease costume consultant Albert Wolsky found a pair of body-hugging, skin-tight black sharkskin pants from the 1950s.

After the delicate zipper broke, Newton-John had to be sewn into the bottoms for the remainder of filming.

The actor/singer said when she emerged in the new look from her on-set trailer, it was “one of the most memorable moments of my entire career.”

Reportedly, Newton-John’s appearance prompted gasps, catcalls, double takes, and a chorus of whistling from the cast and crew.

However, Travolta called his co-star’s transformation “too good to believe.”

“With the Marilyn Monroe hairdo, holding a cigarette, and in those sky-high heels. It was so perfect. And I knew the audience would have the same reaction I had – a heart palpitation!” he exclaimed.

That sexy scene has since sparked a backlash

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the 1978 film 'Grease.'
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta | CBS via Getty Images

The scene that sparked a million Halloween costumes since its 1978 release sparked present-day backlash.

However, while some critics find fault in the idea of a woman transforming herself to get a man to love her, Newton-John felt quite the opposite.

In her book Don’t Stop Believin, the singer recalled feeling empowered by the idea of “claiming my own sexiness. It wasn’t anti-feminist. It was my choice at that moment.”

She wrote: “Later, people would say it was a terrible message to give to young girls, as we told them to sex it up to get their man. But it was about choice. Empowerment comes from calling your shots and being who you want to be.”

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