You Can Thank the Spice Girls for All Your Favourite Beauty Trends
Today is the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest works ever released, Spiceworld. (The album, not the film.) And because everything old is new again, I’ve spent my precious time documenting the links between 2017’s biggest beauty trends and the Spice Girls’ best.
Let’s do this.
Who: Posh (Victoria)
What: Matte brown lipstick
Full disclosure, I didn’t want to start by saying “Kylie Jenner lips” but I’m going to because I’ve gotten you this far, so I’m convinced you’ll keep reading. But think about this: without Posh Spice, where would Kylie Jenner be? (Probably still very successful, but that’s besides the point.) Thanks to the nineties resurgence, nude/brown lips first spearheaded by the likes of Beckham, All Saints, Neve Campbell, and every other name associated with nearly two decades ago, are being reborn by the likes of Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Gigi Hadid, whose brown and beige lip tones are exactly as perfect as the season’s choker revival. (So: very perfect.)
Who: Baby (Emma)
What: Fresh face, glossy pink lips
No-makeup makeup has been around for a bajillion seasons now, and glossy lips are still alive, no matter what Instagram makeup artists may tell you.
But let’s think about who made this look skyrocket: Baby Spice, whose “fresh faced and innocent” shtick translated into super-feminine shades that drew attention only to her eyes and lips. Which is why I was allowed to “do my makeup like Baby’s” as a tween. aka I could also wear lip gloss.
Who: Scary (Mel B)
What: Metallic eye shadow
I am 100% convinced that the makeup artists at Maison Margiela’s spring 2016 shows watched the “Say You’ll Be There” video and opted to base its aesthetic approaches entirely on Mel B’s silver eye shadow. (And if they didn’t, they are wrong and should issue a statement acknowledging how flawless Mel B’s makeup was, thanks.)
The thing is, Mel B’s makeup was less risky than her clothes — and by “risky” I mean “interesting and cool.” For the most part, she stuck to black liner, neutral lips, and minimal eye shadow, but when she levelled up, she put everyone else to shame. See: silver eye shadow that’s proven bankable in any era, season, or month, proven by its comeback this season. Also: I will pay Mel B cold, hard dollars to show me how to apply it without smearing it all over my face.
Who: Ginger (Geri)
What: Blue eyeshadow
Blue shadow has infiltrated the planet this season. It is taking over our lives and our faces and our friend circles, and odds are that at some point this spring you will come home, and blue shadow will be there after deciding to move in with your family. (It’ll casually be reading the newspaper, which it slowly lowers as you begin to scream.)
And I get it, because blue shadow can seem scary. TBH, it seems like a lot; like the 1980s and not in a good way. But lest we forget Geri’s dramatic take on the colour (alongside a US-themed corset), when she played up the tone’s dramatic qualities instead of opting for a powder blue and/or “subtle” equivalent (there is no such thing, BTW). Which is obviously why we’re seeing so much blue now. Because all of us want to find something to wear with our American flag corsets.
Who: Sporty (Mel C)
What: Full brows
Here’s the thing about Sporty Spice that nobody seems to remember: she had (and still has) extraordinary eyebrows. Because remember the 1990s? Remember how often we tweezed, how much we tweezed, and how much we shamed anybody who didn’t tweeze like we did? And in walks Melanie C, whose brows exist on a Kendall Jenner plane of existence.
Perfectly shaped without being sparse, Sporty’s eyebrows embodied the majesty of the “don’t you dare over-pluck” mantra, reminding us that the brows we were born with are a gift. Also: who needs makeup when you’ve got defined brows like that.