Wherever Beyonce goes, she’s the undisputed star, even in a room full of A-listers. Monday night’s CFDA Awards, held at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom with Swarovski, were no exception. The performer was honored with the Fashion Icon Award, and her appearance, in a chic silver-and-black Givenchy pinstripe suit and major “Formation”-style hat alongside Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy Carter, was a total surprise.
Of course the award, presented by CFDA chairman Diane von Furstenberg, was no surprise to the superstar, who made a memorable, inspiring speech. She first told the story of how her mother came to learn how to sew, taught by Beyonce’s grandmother, and that it came in handy when her first group began. “When we were starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels didn’t want to dress four black country girls,” she said.
Beyonce’s die-hard fans are familiar with the intricate costumes her mom and Uncle Jonny handmade for them, “putting so much passion and love into every small detail,” she said. “And when I wore these clothes onstage, I felt I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”
She continued her speech by thanking her mom, uncle and grandmother. “Thank you for showing me that having a presence is more than the clothes you wear or your physical beauty. Thank you for showing me how 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.”
Lastly, she hammered home the fact that designers, whom she calls “fairy godmothers, magicians, sculptures…sometimes even therapists,” have a power and an opportunity to contribute to society with their work. “Soul has no color, no shape, no form…you have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower…to show people how to embrace their complications and flaws and see the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us.” Once again, Beyonce has empowered us all.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.