Exclusive: from the Buffalo to the Union Jack mini-dress… Dive into the iconic wardrobe of the Spice Girls

Exclusive: from the Buffalo to the Union Jack mini-dress… Dive into the iconic wardrobe of the Spice Girls

While “Spice Up”, an exhibition dedicated to the Spice Girls, will open in London on July 28, it’s time to look

at the imprint that its members have left on popular culture and fashion. From Victoria Beckham’s little black Gucci

dress to Mel B’s Buffalo sneakers, trydecaf.org offers you an exclusive selection of their most striking looks.

https://git.sicom.gov.co/heliumsled99 Jamie Spence/Getty Images

22 years have passed since the video of Wannabe, the hit that propelled the career of the Spice Girls, shot

at the Saint Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. And yet, the imprint they left on popular culture is as present

as ever. Recently, a group selfie posted by Victoria Beckham on her Instagram account was liked by nearly two

million people. An official statement mentions “the many exciting possibilities” ahead for the group? That was

all it took to spark a lot of rumors about a group reunion and even a new movie. From Buffalo wedges – a staple

in the girl band’s wardrobe – which are making a comeback at Browns and Farfetch – to croptops and minidresses,

the Spice Girls’ streetwise, sporty and chic style is still very much alive today. As for their message of feminist

affirmation, it’s hard to get more on point in the #MeToo era.

“Today, you don’t have to go to many stores to find a Girl Power T-shirt”, explains Alan Smith-Allison, fan

before the eternal, collector and curator of the SpiceUp exhibition. The event, which opens in London on July

28 before moving to Manchester on August 24, is a more comprehensive version of a retrospective organized by

the same Smith-Alison in Cyprus in 2022. But this time, in addition to his personal treasures, the exhibition

will feature significant loans from other collections, as well as contributions from several designers. The

exhibition is a close collaboration between various international collectors of all things Spice Girls – a first,

according to Alan Smith-Allison. The exhibition will appeal to both longtime fans and newcomers alike, who will

learn about the band and the history of their career through 7,000 merchandise items and 300 outfits and pairs

of shoes. http://pandora.nla.gov.au/external.html?link=http://cpescortservice.com Jamie Spence/Getty Images

Exuberant, feisty and uninhibited: in the 1990s, the Spice Girls showed a whole generation of teenagers a

new way of living their identity, far from the standards of femininity and masculinity put forward at the

time. Their stage personas were not free of stereotypes and commercial agendas – Top of the Pops magazine

gave them nicknames based on these personas: Posh, Ginger, Scary, Sporty, and Baby – but they did prove to

be liberating. In the 1990s, I felt like I didn’t fit the idea of a man,” says Smith-Allison. The Spice Girls

came along and said you should accept yourself as you are and not hide your eccentricity. That really resonated

with the slightly clueless 15-year-old me.”

This message of self-affirmation was expressed in the band’s lyrics and attitude, but it was probably in their

clothing style that it was seen in its purest form. The Spice Girls’ wardrobe didn’t follow any of the rules

that had previously applied to pop groups – record companies at the time favored groups with matching outfits.

When they met Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles in Johannesburg in 1997, each of the Spice Girls had her own

distinct style: Melanie Brown wore a burgundy crocodile coat over an exposed bra and matching green pants

by William Hunt; Melanie Chisholm wore a DKNY tank top, tracksuit bottoms and Nike Air Max 97s; Emma Bunton

and Geri Halliwell wore mini-dresses and platform shoes. As for Victoria Beckham, true to her reputation as

Posh Spice, she came in a satin and gold ensemble.

Red Nike Air Force 1 High

Jamie Spence

“Within the group, each one chose her own outfits, composing a set of strong and uninhibited female personalities

in which a vast and very diverse public recognized itself,” explains Liz West, one of the curators of the

exhibition, living in Manchester. Her Spice Girls-related collection, presented in its entirety for SpiceUp,

earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. “If you didn’t like the way one of the girls dressed,

there was a good chance you’d find something you liked in another”. At the beginning of their career, the

quintet had built a wardrobe that mixed ready-to-wear, vintage and homemade clothes, making their looks easy

to copy for poor teenagers around the world. Even Victoria Beckham’s famous Gucci “little black dress” was

not as chic as we were led to believe. According to Alan Smith-Allison, the first version of this dress in

the Wannabe video was a copy of one of Geri Halliwell’s dresses that Victoria Beckham loved and had copied

by a tailor for about 20 euros. Similarly, in the early years of the group, most of Geri Halliwell’s outfits

had been found on the stalls of the flea market in Camden Market, London. wool blend Jamie Spence/Getty Images

Because, despite their authoritarian manager and their work with different stylists, the five pop stars have invested

a lot in creating their look. This certainly explains why, despite their “made-up” nature, the Spice Girls have

never been accused of lacking authenticity in their personalities. Mel B’s horns, one of the group’s most copied

hairstyles, were created by the singer herself, who had wrapped her hair around two plastic cups. As Alan Smith-Allison

also tells it, Mel B put the finishing touches on a pair of leopard-print Buffalo shoes with red wedges by grabbing

a black marker to leave only the B on the tongue of her shoes. The story is better known, but it was Geri Halliwell

herself who concocted her 1997 BRIT AWARD Union Jack dress (“the Holy Grail for any collector” according to Alan

Smith-Allison). With her sister, she sewed two Union Jack dishcloths on a Gucci dress that she thought was “too

boring”. Unfortunately, this dress – which went for over 45,000 euros at a charity auction in 1998, becoming the

most expensive pop star outfit in history – is not featured in the exhibition, but it is still on display at the

Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. http://b3.zcubes.com/v.aspx?mid=8386545 Jamie Spence


Jamie Spence

Over time, the group has moved away from the common man to custom-made designer outfits, including Julien

MacDonald, Paul Smith and Roberto Cavalli, without losing their involvement and personal touch. In 2022,

it was Halliwell herself who directly contacted Suzanne Neville, a London-based designer specializing in

wedding dresses and evening wear, to design her outfit for the closing ceremony of the London Olympics.

“Geri knew she wanted to be dressed in red and wear a bodice dress,” explains Suzanne Neville. My vision

for the costume was directly dependent on her and evolved as we were creating the design.” At the ceremony,

Halliwell wore a red dress with a crepe bodice, with a plunging neckline and a short silk chiffon skirt.

It was embellished with crystals and 24-karat gold filigree from Halo & Co. With its Union Jack patterned

twist at the back, the outfit paid homage to the 1997 BRIT Awards costume.

Like Liz West and Alan Smith-Allison, Suzanne Neville believes that the band’s positive energy and carefree

attitude, while initially used as a brilliant marketing tool, has long outlived its commercial nature. These

pop stars have paved the way for a generation of young women who are not afraid to speak their minds, even

if it means displeasing others. The Spice Girls were completely authentic in their personalities, and that

had a huge impact,” says Alan Smith-Allison. They gave people the courage to be themselves, without having

to follow predefined ideas of how girls or boys should behave.

SpiceUp runs from July 28 to August 20 at the Business Design Centre in London, before moving to Manchester

Central from August 24 to September 4.


Jamie Spence


Jamie Spence


Jamie Spence