Beyoncé accepted the Council of Fashion Designers of America‘s Fashion Icon award with a moving speech about how the fashion industry was a means for her, her grandmother and her mother to advance their dreams.
The Lemonade singer said her grandmother Agnéz Deréon worked as a seamstress to pay for her daughter Tina’s Catholic school tuition by sewing clothes and uniforms for the priests and nuns. Agnéz taught her daughter to sew and Tina used that skill to launch her own career and craft costumes for Destiny’s Child when no one fashion designers would dress “four black country, curvy girls,” Beyonce said.
“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 … 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.”
Beyoncé said her mother designed her wedding dress, prom dress, first CFDA Award dress, first Grammy dress and more. “This to me is the true power and potential of fashion,” the singer said. “It’s a tool for finding your own identity. It transcends style, and it’s a time capsule of all of our greatest milestones.”
“You have the power to change perception,” Beyonce said addressing designers. “To inspire and empower and to show people how to embrace their complications … see the flaws and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us.”
Beyoncé is in the midst of her Formation tour in support of her latest album, Lemonade. The North American leg will continue through June, followed by a slate of European dates and then a short string of U.S. shows in the fall.