LOS ANGELES, Nov 16 (Reuters) While difficult to upstage nearly nude supermodels strutting down a catwalk, the Spice Girls stole a share of the spotlight as they kicked off a reunion tour with a warm-up at the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
In a sneak peak of their eagerly anticipated world tour that begins December. 2 in Vancouver, the members of the British girl group, whose monikers became household names in the 1990s, yesterday gave models like Heidi Klum a run for their money as they belted out their hit ''Stop'' and new single ''Headlines.'' Lest anyone forget who they were, the group's five women, dressed in World War Two-era khaki and jaunty military caps, emerged onstage at the Hollywood show to perform their first number in front of huge glittering lights spelling out ''Spice.'' The band has sold more than 55 million albums, with 10 No. 1 singles.
The group's latest CD, ''Spice Girls: Greatest Hits,'' is being sold only at the lingerie chain, owned by Limited Brands.
The fashion show will be broadcast December. 4 on CBS.
Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice, the most visible member of the group in recent years since her marriage to soccer player David Beckham, was back to her brunette hair color from blond and wore an olive-drab cigarette skirt, with black gloves, wide belt and a plunging neckline.
''I'm in love with Victoria Beckham, which is probably an issue for David,'' ''American Idol'' host Ryan Seacrest said after the show. ''They could have stood there and done nothing and I'd have been happy,'' he said of the group.
Besides the spectacle of the reunited Spice Girls, there was plenty to ogle onstage at the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, even with celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Slash from the 1980s' rocker band Guns N' Roses in the crowd.
The Victoria's Secret models, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, sported a series of animal-inspired lingerie looks, as barely there bras and panties were accessorized with plumage, skins and antlers seen usually only in the Serengeti.
In a respite from the overload of skin onstage, singer Seal, outfitted head to toe in glittering silver, crooned, ''You're my angel, you're my girl,'' in a duet with wife Klum that culminated in a lingering kiss at the base of the catwalk.
The Black Eyed Peas' William Adams, also known as will.i.am, started the show with the fitting rap hook: ''Baby, where you get your body from?'' Adams was a last-minute stand-in for hip-hop star Kanye West whose mother died earlier in the week.
Although Sporty Spice, a.k.a. Melanie Chisholm, has described the upcoming Spice Girls tour as a ''final bow'' for the group, there was nothing morose about its performance.
For its number ''Headlines,'' the group appeared in 1930s' long gowns in a stylized boudoir. Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, wore a fuchsia satin gown, while Chisholm, dressed in black, lounged on a divan.
REUTERS SG RK1348