Union Jack dress

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Halliwell in her now iconic red, white and blue Union Jack dress at the 1997 BRIT Awards.

The Union Jack dress was an item of clothing worn by singer Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls at the 1997 BRIT Awards. The mini dress featured a flag of the United Kingdom, the Union Jack, on the front, and a white peace symbol emblazoned on the black-coloured back of the dress. The next day the images of the dress made the front page of various newspapers around the world, and is now remembered as one of the most iconic pop moments of the 1990s and Brit Awards history. The dress has become synonymous with the Spice Girls, Halliwell and the notions of Girl Power and Cool Britannia.[1]

According to The Daily Telegraph, the dress came top in an online poll to find the 10 most iconic dresses of the last 50 years, beating other memorable garments such as Marilyn Monroe's white 'Seven Year Itch' halterneck and the wedding dress of Princess Diana.[2]

In 2010, the performance in the Union Jack dress won Most Memorable Performance of 30 Years at the Brit Awards.[3] The dress holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive piece of popstar clothing dealt at auction.[4]


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.[5] The black Gucci mini dress which Halliwell was given to perform in concerned her, as she thought it was too "boring".[6] Then Halliwell decided she wanted to "celebrate being British", so she asked her sister to stitch on a Union Jack tea towel to the front as a patriotic gesture.[6] After Karen,[7] her sister, had sewn on the tea towel, Geri decided to wear it whilst performing "Who Do You Think You Are" (with excerpts of "Wannabe" in) at the BRIT Awards on 24 February 1997.


In 1998, a year after Halliwell performed in the dress, she auctioned it off at the London branch of Sotheby's for £41,320.[8] 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.[8] Morton bid via telephone, and beat other bidders such as The Sun.[9] Halliwell herself watched the "frenzied bid",[10] as it was described by MTV, and rapped the gavel after the final bid.[10] The dress was originally valued at £12,000, but eventually it netted £36,200 (which, with the 15% commission, totalled it to £41,320).[10] Halliwell gave the proceeds of the dress sale to a children's cancer care charity.[10] The BBC commented on the sale, saying it "marks the end of Geri's links with the Girl Power image of the past".[9] It holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive piece of popstar clothing dealt at auction.[4]

2007 remake[edit]

Halliwell performing on tour wearing the Union Jack dress remake.

For the 2007 Spice Girls reunion tour, named the Return of the Spice Girls, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli designed Halliwell a new Union Jack dress modelled on the original.[11] The new version appeared slightly longer and the flag was made out of rhinestones and Swarovski crystals.[11] 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.[12]

Halliwell 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."[13] Halliwell stated in a later interview that she "liked" the new dress and that she had decided to keep it as memorabilia.[14]

2012 clothing range[edit]

In 2012 Halliwell designed a clothing range based upon the dress.[15]


  1. ^ "Geri revisits Spice Girls' heyday in Union Jack dress". Hello Magazine. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  2. ^ Alexander, Hilary (19 May 2010). "Online poll announces the top ten most iconic dresses of the past fifty years – Telegraph". fashion.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Brit Awards 2010: Three gongs for Lady Gaga, two for JLS and one at last for Lily Allen". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  4. ^ a b Bruce DeMara (27 February 2008). "Spice Girls end tour in Toronto". thestar.com. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Vaults | The BRIT Awards 2012". brits.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Sophie Eager (1 April 2010). "Geri Halliwell's infamous Union Jack dress was tea towel". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Nick Levine (7 November 2007). "Ten Things You Never Knew About Geri Halliwell – Showbiz News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Barnes, Anthony (21 January 2010). "Geri Halliwell auctions her famous Union Jack dress". London: The Independent. Retrieved 21 May 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Entertainment | Ginger Spice sells out". BBC News. 16 September 1998. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d "News – Articles – 1429897". Mtv.com. 16 September 1998. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Recycled Spice! Geri brings back the Union Jack as 'Golden Girls' kick off world tour". London Evening Standard. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress (1997) – Notorious BRIT Awards moments – Pictures – Music". Virgin Media. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Gordon Smart (15 December 2007). "Geri Halliwell | Back in Union Jack dress | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre". The Sun. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Geri: 'I looked like a drag queen'". metro.co.uk. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Georgina Littlejohn (3 February 2012). "Geri Halliwell draws inspiration from her Spice Girl days to design Union Flag clothing range | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 

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