UPDATE: Liz West's incredible collection is on the move! It's just been announced that, for one month from July 7, 2016, her incredible mass of Spice Girls memorabilia will be on show in none other than Geri Halliwell's home town of Watford.
To coincide with the 20th Anniversary of the Spice Girls debut hit, Wannabe, Watford Colosseum will host an exhibition dedicated to the 90's pop phenomenon The Spice Girls. Spiceworld: The Exhibition celebrates the story of how Sporty, Baby, Scary, Ginger and Posh became the most successful girl group of all time and enjoyed phenomenal global success.
We've still got a while to wait for that though, so in the meantime, have a read of our original interview with Liz from back in March...
Spice Girls lovers,
if you're still clutching your Step To Me
CD single and half-sucked Spice Chupa-Chups as evidence you're the world's biggest fan, we have some sobering news for you: You've been outdone.
Liz West is the Guinness World Record-holding owner of the world's biggest Spice Girls merchandise collection, having amassed nearly 5,000 pieces of memorabilia from the ultra-commercial, oh-so-collectable pop juggernauts since they first shot to fame almost 20 years ago.
West's collection spans from iconic costumes to platform boots and limited edition merchandise - and was recently on show at Ripley's London in Piccadilly Circus. We had to ask Liz a few questions about her mad/brilliant lifelong obsession:
So Liz, was it hard to momentarily ‘let go’ of your collection so that others will be able to experience it for the next few months?
Not at all! Normally the whole collection is packed away in storage so it is a delight to get it out and have it displayed in museums and attractions. Exhibiting the collection is the only way for me to see it as a whole and also it gives other fans the opportunity to appreciate it and get joy from it.
Was there a point when you started accumulating Spice Girls merch and you realised you had a serious collection on your hands?
When I was about 12 years old I had one cardboard box that was full of Spice Girls memorabilia. At that time - pre-internet - I naively thought I had the biggest Spice Girls collection in the world. I obviously didn’t! When I started buying both versions of each single (mixes and B-sides) and keeping every item wrapped up in the original packaging, I knew I had a collector's instinct. It was only when I went to Art School in Glasgow and I started buying the girls actual outfits that I knew that is was mega serious.
What’s the weirdest or most unusual item in the collection?
I have a Spice Girls branded motor scooter that still works – although I don’t ride it. That is pretty unusual!
Is there an item in particular you’d love to get your hands on?
I would LOVE more Spice Girls-worn outfits in my collection. The Holy Grail for any Spice Girls fan or collector has to be Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress - that would just complete my collection and it is my life’s dream to get my hands on it. Alternatively, a set of outfits all worn at the same time by the girls would be a great addition.
Do all your friends and colleagues know about your collection? Do some think you’re mad?
My friends and family are all used to it now. I have been collecting for two- thirds of my entire life - I started when I was 11 - they think it is a quirky hobby! Everyone I meet somehow finds out about my collection (the perils of social media
) and admires the ambition of making a collection of this scale even if they’re not a fan of the Spice Girls themselves.
Very important question: Favourite Spice Girl and favourite song?
I never had a favourite Spice Girl; that would almost be like picking out your favourite child! Likewise with the songs; they wrote excellent upbeat tunes as well as ballads, am I allowed to pick one of each type? Wannabe
(the sing-a-long anthem that made them SO famous and 2.47mins of pop genius) and 2 Become 1.
What feedback have you received over the years from the girls themselves? We know Victoria loaned out a few of her tour costumes just for the exhibition…
The Spice Girls appreciate that someone has the dedication to make such a collection. Mel B once said to me, “It is truly an honour to have such an extensive collection of our past be brought out for everyone to enjoy.” And Melanie C sent me one of her famous Sporty Spice tracksuits to add to my collection when she found out about it. They all have a copy of the Spiceworld: The Exhibition book that I have made to accompany the show.
Is your love for the Spice Girls still just as big today? Are you praying for a 20-year reunion?
Although I don’t listen to their music as often as I once did do, I would LOVE to see the Spice Girls reunite for a the 20th anniversary, even if it does make me feel VERY old!