Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress story and the Spice Girl's other most iconic fashion moments

·Fashion and Shopping Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·7-min read
Geri Halliwell's style trajectory spans three decades. (Getty Images)
Geri Halliwell's style trajectory spans three decades. (Getty Images)

Geri Halliwell (officially now Horner, following her 2017 marriage) will forever be known for her time as one fifth of the iconic girl band the Spice Girls.

Although Ginger Spice's style trajectory has spanned three decades in the spotlight, and celebrates her 50th birthday on 6 August, its her on-stage looks that have become the most memorable.

Early in Spice Girls history the Nineties looks were in full swing; platforms, leopard prints and perspex was the modus operandi for the famous girl group, and of course Geri was no exception.

The “hot-headed and lively” Ginger Spice matched her style to her name, with vibrant red hues and classic ‘90s fabrics, but it was her Union Jack dress that went down in history as one of the most iconic outfits in pop culture history.

Although uttered by all of the members of the Spice Girls, “girl power” became closely associated with Geri, and her Union Jack dress from the 1997 Brit Awards also became an enduring symbol of the movement.

But the singer wasn’t originally meant to wear the iconic dress. In fact, it wasn’t even a dress.

The Spice Girls performing on stage
Geri Halliwell performing as part of the Spice Girls in 1996 wearing a sequinned teal dress at the Smash Hits Poll Winners' Party at the London Arena. (Getty Images)

The Spice Girls were scheduled to open the 1997 Brit Awards, but Ginger Spice Geri thought that the black Gucci mini dress that she was supposed to perform in was too "boring" so she enlisted the help of her sister, Karen.

Deciding to celebrate being British, Karen stitched a Union Jack tea towel on top of the original Gucci dress, and doing so, created one of the most iconic pieces of pop culture clothing to come out of the Nineties.

Read more: Geri Horner calls Queen 'the matriarch we can trust to be calm amidst global pandemic'

To avoid being associated with the National Front, Halliwell also asked her sister to stitch the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) peace symbol onto the back of the dress.

Once she left the Spice Girls in 1998, Geri separated herself slightly from the style of her bandmates, but soon returned to homogeneous dressing for the band’s reunion tour.

The mother-of-three opts for a classic style nowadays, favouring clean lines and white shades for her public appearances.

As Geri Halliwell turns 50, see the Spice Girl's most iconic fashion looks

1997

Geri Halliwell performing with the Spice Girls at the Brit Awards, 24th February 1997.
Geri Halliwell performing with the Spice Girls at the Brit Awards, 24th February 1997. (Getty Images)

One of the most iconic pieces of clothing to come out of the 21st century, Geri's Union Jack dress was plastered on the front pages of newspapers the world over following the Spice Girls performance at the 1997 Brit Awards.

A year after the Brits performance the dress became most expensive piece of pop star clothing dealt at auction when it sold under the hammer at Sotheby's for £41,320 in 1998. It was bought by Peter Morton on behalf of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where the piece of pop memorabilia is still displayed today.

2016

Geri Horner attends the BRIT Awards 2016
Geri Horner (née Halliwell) on the 2016 Brit Awards red carpet. (Getty Images)

At another Brit Awards ceremony, in 2016, Geri channelled her bandmate Mel B in a leopard-print dress that could've been taken straight out of Scary Spice's wardrobe.

2012

the Spice Girls at the press night for 'Viva Forever' musical
Geri Halliwell with her Spice Girls bandmates Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham at the Gala Press Night performance of 'Viva Forever' at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2012. (Getty Images)

The Spice Girls reunited in 2012 to attend a performance of Viva Forever, the musical based on the band's music. Geri channeled Frozen's Elsa in a floor-length ice-blue layered strapless dress for the occasion.

1997

The Spice Girls at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes, during the 50th Cannes Film Festival in 1997
The Spice Girls at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes, during the 50th Cannes Film Festival in 1997. (Getty Images)

During her proper Ginger Spice days, Geri wore a satin red mini dress that matched shades of her hair colour when the Spice Girls attended the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 to promote their movie, Spice World.

1996

The Spice Girls posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, September 1996. (Getty Images)
The Spice Girls posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, September 1996. (Getty Images)

If it wasn't for her era-appropriate hair, Geri's striped top and black trousers wouldn't look out of place if she wore them today.

2000

Geri Halliwell on stage during rehearsals The 20th BRIT Awards in 2000.
Geri Halliwell on stage during rehearsals The 20th BRIT Awards in 2000. (Getty Images)

Geri still had nods to her Spice Girls days – note the Union Jack belt buckle – when she left the band, but differentiated her style with long blonde locks.

2018

Geri Horner (née Halliwell) on the National Television Awards red carpet in 2018
Geri Horner (née Halliwell) on the National Television Awards red carpet in 2018. (Getty Images)

The former Spice Girl wore a plunging satin blue floor-length gown to walk the National Television Awards red carpet in 2018.

2020

Geri Halliwell wearing a white and black jacket
Geri Horner (née Halliwell) at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in 2020. (Getty Images)

A far cry from her vibrant Spice Girls days, Geri wore a classic white and black bouclé jacket to attend a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in 2020.

1999

Geri Halliwell  at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin in 1999
Geri Halliwell at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin in 1999. (Getty Images)

Geri who? Ginger Spice looks like a carbon copy of Shakira here in 1999 at the MTV Europe Music Awards, with long blonde wavy hair and a plunging, floor-length embellished see-through dress.

2019

Spice Girls perform on tour in in Dublin in 2019
Four out of five of the Spice Girls perform on tour in in Dublin in 2019. (Getty Images)

Geri wore a blue and red medieval-style strapless dress on the Spice Girls reunion tour in Dublin.

2021

Geri and Christian Horner at the FIA Prize Giving 2021 gala in Paris in 2021
Geri and Christian Horner pose on the blue carpet at the FIA Prize Giving gala in Paris in 2021. (Getty Images)

Geri looked every bit the international star in a Marilyn Monroe-esque white dress with plunging halterneck neckline and Hollywood curls in her hair as she walked the blue carpet at the FIA Prize Giving gala in 2021 with her husband Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing's Formula One team principal.

1997

Prince Charles and Geri Halliwell
Prince Charles and Geri Halliwell (now Horner) of the Spice Girls. (Getty Images)

Geri wore a blue and white spangled showgirl outfit for one of the many times the Spice Girls met with Prince Charles in 1997.

2012

Geri Halliwell of The Spice Girls performing during the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Geri Halliwell of The Spice Girls performing during the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

Geri paid homage to her original Union Jack dress with a corseted red dress which featured parts of the flag in a ruffled bustle at the back of the dress for the Spice Girls' Closing Ceremony medley performance at the London 2021 Olympics.

1998

Geri Halliwell performing with Spice Girls in concert
Geri Halliwell performing with Spice Girls in concert, in 1998. (Getty Images)

Geri opted for a red and white sparkling showgirl-style outfit for a performance with the Spice Girls in 1998. The two piece featured a waistcoat jacket and shorts, with matching platform boots.

2007

Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls  on stage during The Return of Spice Girls World Tour in 2007. (Getty Images)
Geri Halliwell on stage during The Return of Spice Girls World Tour in 2007. (Getty Images)

Geri slipped back into her Ginger Spice ways for The Return of Spice Girls World Tour in a red corseted body suit and white knee-high boots.

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