Despite suggestions that Kim Kardashian was the shoo-in surprise recipient of the coveted Fashion Icon award at the 2016 CFDA Awards, leave it to Queen Bey to swoop in and steal the show.
Clad in a glittery Givenchy suit, Beyoncé took the stage, accepting the honor from designer Diane von Furstenberg, who gave a shoutout to the singer’s undeniable influence on the fashion community — and spoke highly of Bey’s own, recently-debuted line, Ivy Park. What followed was an emotional speech that catalogued the importance of clothing and style through her life, which you can read here:
“I feel so much love and I feel so proud right now. Thank you guys for this incredible honor. As long as I can remember, fashion has always been a part of my life. This effect on me actually started before I was born. Most of you guys don’t know this, but my grandmother was a seamstress. My grandparents did not have enough money; they could not afford my mother’s Catholic school tuition, so my grandmother sold clothes for the priests and the nuns and made the uniforms for the students in exchange for my mother’s education. She then passed this gift down to my mother and taught her how to sew. When we were starting out with Destiny’s Child, high-end labels, they didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls, and we couldn’t afford designer dresses or couture. My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent, her creativity to give her children their dreams. My mother, and my Uncle Johnny (God bless his soul), designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail. When I wore these clothes on stage, I felt like Khalessi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name…
“My mother actually designed my wedding dress, my prom dress, my first CFDA Awards dress, and my first Grammy’s dress, and the list goes on and on and on. And this, to me, is the true power and potential of fashion. It’s a tool for finding your own identity, expression, and strength. It transcends style and is a time capsule of all of our greatest milestones. So to my mother, my uncle, my grandma, thank y’all. Thank you for showing me that having a presence is far more than the clothes you wear and your physical beauty. Thank you for showing me to never take no for an answer. Thank you for showing me how to take risks, work hard, and live life on my own terms. I want to say thank you to every designer that works tirelessly to make people feel like they can write their own story. Y’all are fairy godmothers, and magicians, and sculptors, sometimes even our therapists. I encourage you to not forget this power that you have, or take it lightly. We have an opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or a magazine cover and see her own reflection. The soul has no color, no shape, no form. Just like all of your work, it goes so far beyond what the eyes can see. And you have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower. And to show people how to embrace their complications and see the flaws and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us…”
Thank you, Beyoncé, for leaving us speechless.