Geri Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, and Melanie Chisolm hadn’t yet released their first album — or hired a decent stylist — when they made their first official appearance as the Spice Girls at the 1995 Brit Awards. Later that year, the group signed with music manager Simon Fuller and Virgin Records and began to hone both their sound and their image.
When the girls hit the stage to perform at the 1997 Brit Awards, Ginger (Geri Halliwell) caused a commotion in her Union Jack mini-dress. ”This is the best night of our lives, so I don’t care what happens,” said Halliwell, who accidentally exposed her breasts twice during the ceremony. In 1998, Hard Rock Cafe owner Peter Morton paid more than $60,000 for the frock at auction, putting his prize on display at the chain’s Las Vegas location.
Having fully embraced their pop personas, Sporty (Chisolm), Ginger (Halliwell), Baby (Bunton), Scary (Brown), and Posh (Adams) dressed their parts — and got cheeky with Prince Charles — at the Prince’s Trust 21st anniversary concert in May 1997. ”Posh Spice came about because of how I looked; the bob, the heels, the little black Gucci dress. Except that it wasn’t Gucci. It was Miss Selfridge,” Victoria Beckham wrote in her 2007 fashion tome That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between. ”I’ve still got it, though it finally fell to bits from being worn to death.”
The Girls performed ”Say You’ll Be There” but presented a medley of bad fashion at the 1997 MTV VMAs in New York City.
While critics wrote that their popularity was waning — and one member was plotting her exit from the group — the Girls presented a united front in matching pinstripe Gangster suits at the London premiere of Spiceworld in December 1997.
Following Geri Halliwell’s departure in May 1998, the four remaining Spice Girls soldiered on through their sold-out Spiceworld tour, which featured outer-space-themed sets and costumes designed by stylist Kenny Ho.
In June 1998, the ladies toned down their dress when they joined opera legend Luciano Pavarotti at a benefit concert for children in war-torn Liberia. Still, Bunton, Adams, and Brown couldn’t resist going topless under their blazers, flashing their bras to the audience throughout the performance.
In December 1999, the women presented their sequin-swathed doppelgängers to the press at Madame Tussaud’s Rock Circus in London. ”I hope I’m put near Posh, because I happen to love Posh,” Dame Helen Mirren told reporters when her own wax figure was unveiled in 2010. ”Mind you, I’m going to be a bit chunky next to Posh, aren’t I?”
The quartet wore coordinated leather looks to the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards for what would turn out to be the last performance. The following month, the Spice Girls went on indefinite hiatus.
The ladies announced plans for a Spice Girls reunion tour and revealed their new looks during a press conference at London’s O2 Arena on June 28, 2007. Chisolm traded her platform trainers for peep-toe pumps, Brown chose to cover up her ample assets, Halliwell had gone boho, and Beckham was in the midst of her blonde period.
The Spice Girls 2.0 — dubbed ”Old Spice” by the British press — made their return to the stage at the 2007 Victoria’s Secret fashion show, where they performed the hit single ”Stop” dressed in World War II-inspired military khakis.
Italian designer Roberto Cavalli created the stage costumes for the Spice Girls reunion tour, which kicked off on Dec. 2, 2007, in Vancouver. ”I have known Victoria Beckham for a long time and have always admired her style and personality,” Cavalli told Vogue. ”When we talked about the worldwide tour, The Return of the Spice Girls, she put forward the idea of me creating all their costumes to which I immediately agreed.”
To thank Roberto Cavalli for their new concert attire, Chisolm, Bunton, Brown, Halliwell, and Beckham supported the designer at the presentation of his men’s fall/winter collection during Milan Fashion Week in 2008.
In addition to creating pieces like these platinum and white ensembles, Cavalli also helped modernize the Girls’ signature ’90s styles — including Halliwell’s infamous Union Jack mini, Brown’s leopard print leotard, and Beckham’s little black dress — for their 2007 reunion concert.
Beckham wore a dress from her eponymous label when the women gathered together at a press conference to promote Viva Forever, a Spice Girls musical that’s set to open on London’s West End in December. ”It was the Buffalo shoes that Victoria really wants to wear again!” Geri joked of the bulky platform boots worn by members of the group during their heyday. ”She hated them — she wouldn’t wear them.”
Victoria Beckham (in a custom Gilles Deacon little black dress), Geri Halliwell (in a red dress with Union Jack bustle by Susan Neville), Emma Bunton (in a hot pink mini dress with sequined shoulders), Melanie Chisolm (in a white crop top, side-slit bell bottoms and platform trainers), and Melanie Brown (in a nude bodysuit by Zuhair Murad) wore grown up versions of their trademark Spice Girls outfits when they performed ”Wannabe” and ”Spice Up Your Life” at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.