Rise of the pink ladies costumes

1950s Costuming- Grease/ Rise of the Pink Ladies

One of the most iconic movies of the 1970s, Grease was set in a 1950s American high school. Designer Albert Wolsky took inspiration from the greaser subculture for the T-birds costumes, which consisted of plenty of leather jackets, denim, white t-shirts and converse. 

 Albert Wolsky

Meanwhile Sandy started out all things cutesy pastel for her goody two shoes persona, opting for circle skirts, cardigans and tea dresses before emerging as a vixen at the end in an iconic black outfit of leather jacket, tight sharkskin pants, Bardot top and red mules.

The trousers Olivia Newton-John wore were vintage 50s and the zip was broken, so she had to be sewn in every day on set! The jacket and trousers were sold at auction in 2019 for $405,700. The founder of Spanx bought the trousers and they are now on display at Spanx HQ. They inspired American Apparel’s best selling disco pants in the 2010s. 

The pink ladies were united with their pink bomber jackets, but individually sported unique looks from Rizzo’s bold style to ‘beauty school dropout’ Frenchy’s girly-glam looks. 

Rise of the Pink Ladies premiered in early 2023. Samantha Hawkins (@Samhawkinsdesign on Insta) and Angelina Kekich (@AngelinaKekich) were the costume designers on the show. Check out @pinkladiescostumes for a great insight into the design process!

It is set 4 years before the original, in 1954, and the designers took inspiration from Grease, drawing from both the 50s and the 70s while updating everything for the 21st century. For the Pink Ladies jacket, they looked at the original jacket as well as James Deans’ Rebel Without a Cause Jacket. Hawkins told GoldDerby.com that she wanted to use a lot of vintage pieces but had to be careful with that during dance routines because of their fragility. 

We rented a few items from our collection to the production. This included a pink and green plaid dress that was worn by Marisa Davila in the role of Jane. This is part of a 1950s dress and jacket set. 

We also noticed a yellow plaid dress of ours that she wore in another scene. 

Have you watched the show? The costumes are a treat!

Check out our post on the greaser subculture Here!

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