On Monday night (Jun 6), Beyoncé took a short break from slaying stadiums with her “Formation” World Tour and made a surprise appearance at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards, where she received the biggest honor of the night: the coveted fashion icon award.
The whole thing came as a surprise because when the nominees and honorees were announced back in March without a named Fashion Icon, many believed they would announce Michelle Obama as the winner in her last year as First Lady. So no one really expected Beyoncé, who rarely makes public appearances or does interviews these days, to walk across the stage and accept that award.
Rocking a sparkly Givenchy tux and a wide-brimmed “Formation”-style hat, Beyoncé gave a lengthy speech about the major role fashion has played in her life and career. She even gave her mother, Tina Knowles, a shout-out, saying that the clothes she made for her over the years feel “like Khaleesi” from Game of Thrones. “I had an extra suit of armor,” she said.
Watch Queen Bey accept her award (look out for Blue adorably cheering her mom on from the crowd!) below.
After sneaking into the venue to accept her award from CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, Beyoncé, Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy posed for this cute family photo on the red carpet outside:
Read Beyoncé’s CFDA Fashion Icon Award acceptance speech in full below:
“Thank you so much, Diane, for the things you just said about me. I feel so much love and I feel so proud. As long as I can remember, fashion has been part of my life. Its effect on me actually started before I was born. Many 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 uniforms for the students in exchange for my mother’s education. She then passed this gift onto my mother and taught her how to sew.
Starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels 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 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 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.”