NEW YORK It’s the “Oscars of style,” the one night of the year where the industry celebrates the best and brightest in American fashion.
Among the winners like Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Thom Browne was the night’s biggest star: BeyoncKnowles. Decked out in a dramatic black wide-brimmed hat and a sparkly Givenchy Couture suit, she was there to accept the award for Fashion Icon.
Beyonc’s already had an emotional year with all that came with Lemonade,and her acceptance speech seemed to say it all.
In it, she talks about how fashion, to her, was more than the clothing. Fashion, she revealed, was in her family’s heritage.
It was passed down from generation to generation from her grandmother, who once sewed together uniforms for Beyonc’s mother, Tina Knowles, so she could attend a private Catholic school.
Her mother later dressed and custom-created styles for Destiny’s Child, at a time when no designers dared dress their curvy bodies. It was also at the beginning of their careers when the members didn’t have the funds to afford couture dresses from design houses. Her most memorableCFDA Awards look in 2004, was in fact, also created by her mother.
Read her entire speech below (and make sure you have a tissue nearby):
“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 Khaleesi . 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…”
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