Union Jack DressEdit
At the 1997 BRIT Awards the Spice Girls were scheduled to perform, as well as being nominated for five awards, two of which they won. The black Gucci mini dress which Halliwell was given to perform in concerned her:
"I got sent this black Gucci dress and I thought, 'What am I going to wear? That's a bit boring,"
She pursued other options coming to a conclusion that she wanted to “celebrate being British”:
"And then I thought, 'Oh, my God.' I just got a light bulb and I thought, 'Brits -- let's celebrate being British! And so literally I got my sister to stitch it; she stitched it onto the black Gucci dress. It's a tea towel, that's what it is!"
Then she asked the designer if she could add on the flag of the Union Jack, to which she replied that it may be considered “racist”.
Confused upon hearing this, she asked her sister to stitch on a Union Jack tea towel to the front as a patriotic gesture. A peace sign was sewed behind the dress to avoid any misunderstanding or to offend anyone with the patriotism.
After Karen, her sister, had sewn on the tea towel, Geri decided to wear it whilst performing Who Do You Think You Are at the BRIT Awards on 24 February 1997.
The next day, images of the dress made the front page of numerous tabloid newspapers. Now, the dress is remembered as one of the most iconic moments in BRIT Awards history. The dress has become associated with the Spice Girls, Geri and the ideas of Girl Power.
In a poll done in 2010 by U.K. online fashion retailer offerssupermarket.co.uk, the dress was branded as the most iconic dress in the last 50 years beating the likes of Michelle Obama and Marilyn Monroe.
OffersSupermarket founder Eve Atkins stated:
"Everybody remembers the moment Geri Halliwell hit the stage in that Union Jack dress. It made everybody watching the Brit Awards feel patriotic, plus she looked amazing."
In 1998, a year after Geri performed in the dress, she auctioned it off at the London branch of Sotheby's for £41,320 ($59,000). The buyer was Peter Morton, on behalf of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, who displayed the piece of clothing as pop memorabilia.[ Morton bid via telephone, and beat other bidders such as The Sun. Halliwell herself watched the "frenzied bid" as it was described by MTV, and rapped the gavel after the final bid[ The dress was originally valued at £12,000, but eventually it sold at £36,200 (minus the 15% commission which totalled it to £41,320). Halliwell gave the proceeds of the dress sale to a children's cancer care charity. The BBC commented on the sale, saying the dress:
"Marks the end of Geri's links with the Girl Power image of the past"
It holds the Guiness World Record for the most expensive piece of popstar clothing dealt at auction.
The original dress was donated to the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas.
For the 2007 Spice Girls reunion tour, named the Return of the Spice Girls, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli designed Halliwell a brand new Union Jack dress modelled on the original. The new version appeared slightly longer and the flag was made out of rhinestones and Swarovski crystals. It was reported by various media outlets that Halliwell had attempted to buy back the original dress prior to the commencement of their world tour.
Geri stated that ahead of the O2 Arena dates that "we are a British band and seriously proud to fly the flag. Walking out in the Union Jack dress will be special."
Geri stated in a later interview that she "liked" the new dress and that she had decided to keep it as memorabilia.