The Spice Girls were a British pop girl group formed in 1994. The group consisted of five members, who each later adopted nicknames initially ascribed to them: Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"), and Victoria Beckham, née Adams ("Posh Spice"). They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single, "Wannabe", in 1996, which hit number one in more than 30 countries and helped establish the group as a global phenomenon. Credited for being the pioneers that paved the way for the commercial breakthrough of teen pop in the late 1990s, their debut album, Spice, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a female group in music history. They have sold over 80 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time, one of the best-selling pop groups of all time, and the biggest British pop phenomenon since Beatlemania.
Measures of their success include international record sales, 2007–2008 reunion tour, merchandising, record-breaking achievements, iconic symbolism such as Halliwell's Union Jack dress, representing "girl power", a box-office film, Spice World, and their internationally recognised nicknames. The group became one of the most successful marketing engines ever, with their global grosses estimated at $500–800 million between 1996 and 1998 and the group earning up to $75 million per year. Under the guidance of their mentor and manager Simon Fuller, the group embraced merchandising and became a regular feature of the British and global press. In 1996, Top of the Pops magazine gave each member of the group aliases, which were adopted by the group and media. According to Rolling Stone journalist and biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were the most widely recognised group of individuals since John, Paul, George, and Ringo". With the "girl power" phenomenon, the Spice Girls were popular cultural icons of the 1990s. They are cited as part of the 'second wave' 1990s British Invasion of the US.
Fashion trends and nicknames
As the girls become more popular, their images became as important as their music. In their early days of the band, the girls had a laid back and casual look, and maintained an image of everyday British young females. As their career progressed into a worldwide phenomenon, the girls and their manager Simon Fuller became more aware of the impact their images had. The Spice Girls soon became noticeable just by their clothes and hairstyles, and soon became icons of late 1990s fashion. In a summer 1996 issue of Top of the Pops magazine, editor Peter Loraine gave them nicknames for their images and personalities, and this soon had an impact on their fashion. In contrast to their early career, the girls soon began to differ their images from each other, and each girl had a unique look.
Victoria Beckham: Victoria was called Posh Spice because of her more upper-middle-class background, her choppy brunette bob hairstyle and refined attitude, form-fitting designer outfits and her love of high-heeled footwear.
Emma Bunton: Emma was called Baby Spice because she was the youngest of the group, wore her long blonde hair in pigtails, wore babydoll dresses, had an innocent smile, and had a girly girl personality.
Melanie Chisholm: Melanie (also called Mel C) was called Sporty Spice because she usually wore a tracksuit with her dark hair in a ponytail and sported a tough girl attitude as well as sported tattoos on both of her arms. She also possessed true athletic abilities, her signature being her ability to perform back handsprings.
Geri Halliwell: Geri was called Ginger Spice because of her "liveliness, zest, and flaming red hair." She often wore outrageous stage outfits, as in the iconic Union Jack dress. Geri was seen by some as de facto leader of the group thanks to her articulate conversational style and business savvy nature. She is also the eldest member of the group.
Geraldine Estelle "Geri" Halliwell (born 6 August 1972) is an English pop singer-songwriter, clothes designer, author and actress. Halliwell came to international prominence in the 1990s as Ginger Spice, a member of girl group the Spice Girls. On 30 May 1998, Halliwell left the Spice Girls due to depression and differences within the group. In 2007, it was announced that the Spice Girls had reunited, and that Halliwell had rejoined the group.