Beyonce Receives 2016 CFDA Fashion Icon Award, Gives Inspiring Speech
Beyonce surprised attendees at the 2016 CFDA Awards on Monday (June 6), where she made a special and unexpected onstage appearance to accept the organization's CFDA Fashion Icon award.
With her husband Jay-Z, daughter Blue Ivy and mother Tina Knowles sitting front row in the audience, the Lemonade singer was introduced by fashion designer and CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg as she took the stage.
While accepting her award, Beyonce recounted how her mom and her uncle Johnny hand-designed all of the original outfits for Destiny's Child. In an emotional revelation, she shared how, during the early stages of her music career, designers were unwilling to dress her or her fellow group members.
"When we were starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels, they didn’t really want to dress four black, country, curvy girls," she revealed. "But we couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture. My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother [who was a seamstress], she used her talent and her creativity to give her children their dreams."
Referring to fashion as "a tool for finding your own identity, expression and strength," Beyonce also shared how her mother not only crafted her early stage costumes, but also helped create some of the artist's most iconic sartorial moments, from her first Grammys dress, to her first CFDA Awards dress, to the gown she wore for her 2008 wedding to Jay-Z.
As for the outfit she wore to accept the prestigious style award, the "superstar," according to von Furstenberg, rocked a sparkling Givenchy pinstripe suit, Lorraine Schwartz diamonds and a wide-brimmed black hat in homage to some of the looks featured in her Lemonade film.
Read Beyonce's entire CFDA Fashion Icon Award acceptance speech, below:
Thank you so much, Diane, for the beautiful things you just said about me. 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 part of my life. Its 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 sewed 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 in 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 and couture. My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent and her creativity to give her children their dreams. My mother and my uncle, God rest his soul, made all of our first costumes, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail. When I wore these clothes I felt like Khaleesi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.
My mother is fabulous and beautiful and she’s here tonight. My mother, my grandmother, and my uncle are always with me so I cannot fail. My mother actually designed my wedding dress, my prom dress, my first CFDA Award dress, my first Grammy dress, and the list goes on and 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. It transcends style, and it’s a time capsule of all of our greatest milestones. So to my mother, my grandmother, my uncle, thank y’all. Thank you for showing me that having presence is about 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 who works tirelessly to make people think they can write their own story. Y’all are fairy godmothers, magicians, sculptors, and sometimes even our therapists. I encourage you to not forget this power you have or to take it lightly. We have the opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or magazine cover and see her own reflection. Soul has no color, no shape, no form. Just like all of your work, it goes far beyond what the eye can see. 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 so much for this incredible award, I’ll never forget this night. God bless you all. Thank you.
Beyoncé, From Her Debut Album to Today: