How Lady Hale’s giant spider brooch sent the web into a spin

<span>Photograph: AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The past month has seen fashion weeks in London, New York, Paris and Milan. It has seen J-Lo on the Versace catwalk. But for many in fashion, the standout memory is of the 74-year-old president of the supreme court. The spider brooch Lady Hale was wearing as she declared Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament “void and of no effect” has become a fashion phenomenon, with fans of the baroness immediately seeking to imitate her.

Search engine Lyst reports that “spider brooch” has been a breakout search term in the UK since 24 September, with searches for brooches in general, but particularly animal shapes, up 126%. After Vogue declared Hale’s brooch “maximalist perfection”, shoppers have been seeking out brooches as close as possible to that arachnid accessory. Gucci’s bee and butterfly brooches, Alexander McQueen’s bunny version and Simone Rocha’s £270 beaded spider were the most viewed. Hale herself has a well-documented collection of animal brooches, from foxes and frogs to butterflies.

According to fashion data site Launchmetrics, there were 427 online articles and social media posts about the spider brooch in the 48 hours after it was seen on TV and online, and it appears its appeal is universal rather than confined to the country most affected by Brexit; while 44% were posted in the UK, the majority of the pieces came from the rest of the world, from America to Australia, and India to Ukraine.

Brooches, one of this season’s top trends, are easily tracked down for less. Asos has a crystal heron for £10, M&S has a bee for £12.50, and Brora has a pewter elephant for £65 – a menagerie to match Lady Hale’s.

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