Numerous classic comic characters have been “updated” over the decades in an effort to make them more appealing to new audiences, frequently with mixed results. But few makeovers have been as surprising, or apparently as successful, as King Features’ transformation of Olive Oyl into … well, a fashion icon of sorts.
Tall, rail-thin and large-footed, Olive Oyl looks essentially the same as she did when E.C. Segar introduced her in 1919 (a decade before Popeye debuted in the comic strip Thimble Theatre). Yet for the past decade, she’s served as inspiration for Italian designer Moschino, who’s created everything from bandanas to sweaters to jewelry bearing the character’s likeness; Spanish clothing retailer features her on nightwear and underwear, too. She even has her own website and fashion blog.