15 of the Spice Girls' most fabulous, feisty, and feminist moments
The spiciest bits
On Feb. 2, the Spice Girls confirmed that they are ready to "explore some incredible new opportunities together." Before they announce what's in store — could it be a tour? — take a look back at their most fabulous moments (and that heartbreaking day) since they hit the big time with "Wannabe" in 1996. From Union Jack dresses and royal encounters to the Olympic games and West End shows, it's been one hell of a ride — not unlike one on, say, a careening tour bus.
They really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ah
In the summer of 1996, five girls with enormous talent and even bigger personalities strutted platform stiletto — and sneaker! — first onto the world stage. They kicked things off with their debut single "Wannabe," which was accompanied by an in-your-face video and killer choreography. The song topped the U.K. Singles Chart for seven weeks and the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. for four weeks, ultimately becoming the best-selling single by a girl group in the world. What's that sound you hear? Oh, it's girl power.
Is it flag? Is it a dress? No, it's an iconic fashion moment.
At the 1997 Brit Awards, Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, showed her love for her country by wearing a flag. Technically, it was a dress with the Union Jack printed on it, but it seems odd to call something so small a dress. The ensemble (she paired the dress with red platform boots) became one of the most iconic looks of '90s pop culture. It was eventually auctioned off for £41,320.
Fans in high places
Prince Harry reportedly had a poster of the girls on his bedroom wall, but we can’t imagine that matching the decor at Kensington Palace. What we do know for sure is that even royalty was swept up in Spice mania. In 1997, Prince Charles met the girls at a Prince’s Trust concert. Mel B and Halliwell both breached protocol by kissing the heir to the throne on the cheek — some say a cheeky Ginger even went for a bottom pinch.
'Who Do You Think You Are?'
Though the original version of the music video (and the song generally) was a resounding success for the girls, a second version of the video was filmed for Red Nose Day as part of the 1997 Comic Relief telethon. The spoof edition saw the girls played by British icons Kathy Burke, Dawn French, Llewella Gideon, Lulu, and Jennifer Saunders. The name of the slightly more mature but just as dazzling girl group? The Sugar Lumps. So sweet.
Nelson Mandela's seal of approval
Sometimes in life, legends collide. Such was the case when the girl group met former South African president and revered civil rights leader Nelson Mandela in late ’97. On introduction, Mandela announced: “These are my heroes. This is one of the greatest moments in my life.” Ours too, sir.
There’s so much to say about 1997's Spice World (I said some of it right here), but perhaps the moment that sticks in everyone’s minds is when the gang highjacks their Union Jack tour bus and (literally) flies it over the Tower Bridge as it rises. If only GIFs had been a thing 20 years ago!
No world domination was complete in the late ’90s/early '00s without a Pepsi spot. The group donned shiny and skimpy silver clothing to tell the world to “move over” for generation next — oh, and also to drink Pepsi — in their commercial, thereby paving the way for even more acceptable pop/product marketing collaborations for generations to come.
Posh and Becks 4-eva
Has an iconic celebrity couple ever enjoyed such longevity? There was a time when we said Posh without “and Becks,” but it's not one we want to remember. After meeting at a soccer game in 1997, the pop star and Manchester United player became engaged in 1998. Four kids and a variety of hairstyles later, the couple is still one of the most adored around the world.
The British invasion
Sure, the Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show and had more hits, but the Spice Girls were on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998.
Bye bye, Geri
On May 31, 1998, Halliwell left the group that made her a household name. “Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls,” she said in a statement. “This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best." Hearts around the globe were broken as teens played “Viva Forever” on repeat and wept. Sure, the remaining four ladies released an album, Forever, in 2000, but things just weren't the same, and they announced a hiatus in December 2000.
Forever friends and angels
Cut to 2007, when the girls reunited on the catwalk of the 12th annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Los Angeles. The performance was just the beginning of a revival. Soon, they embarked on a world tour and promoted their new single, “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)." Amen, ladies.
Gold medal performance
With the Summer Olympic Games taking place in London in 2012, rumors began to swirl that the girls would reunite for a performance at the opening ceremony — and, boy did they ever. The girls arrived on stage in Hackney taxis before dancing on the cars and performing a medley of their hits. It was like 1997 all over again!
In December 2012, the girls found themselves back together again on the red carpet, this time for the opening of the much-hyped musical based on the band’s career, Viva Forever! It didn’t quite prove to be “everlasting, like the sun,” closing just six months after receiving negative reviews.
…and then in February 2018, the girls sparked a fan frenzy when they posted a photo on social media of the gang back together (yet) again in London! “We have enjoyed a wonderful afternoon catching up and reminiscing about the amazing times we have spent together,” the group said in a statement to EW via Beckham’s publicist, Jo Milloy. “We are always overwhelmed at how much interest there is across the whole world for the Spice Girls. The time now feels right to explore some incredible new opportunities together.” Speculation that the girls will be hitting the road for a reunion tour has been swirling since, though it is yet to be officially confirmed. PRAY TO THE SPICE GODS, MY PRETTIES.