Kate Hogan
June 04, 2012 10:00 PM

WireImage; Landov; Getty

Johnny Depp is set to join the ranks of the fashion industry’s elite as he accepts the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Icon award on Monday. Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Lady Gaga and Audrey Hepburn are among previous winners — but if you’re looking for a way to compare Depp to those ladies, it’s not easy.

First of all, he’s the first male to ever be named the CFDA Icon. What does the CFDA look for when selecting their Icon? CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, who likens the process to Oscars voting, reveals that there are 700 people who nominate and ultimately vote on designers and recipients. Eventually, they narrow their choices down to three top nominees in each category, and the board of directors chooses the winners.

“Johnny’s come up every year,” Kolb tells PEOPLE. “He doesn’t worry about what someone else is going to think. That’s what we liked about him: he’s got no fear and dresses for himself.” Diane von Furstenberg, President of the CFDA, tells PEOPLE, “There’s something that’s authentic about Johnny, and you can see it in his eyes. He’s nice and naughty.”

Kolb cites Depp’s love for accessories as something that made him stand out among nominees. “You see pretty much every guy wearing a bracelet or two,” he says. “You look at Johnny, and he’s got forty of them on and he’s been doing that for a while.” Depp not only adorns his wrists with jewelry, but is known for his necklaces (like beaded items made by his daughter, Lily-Rose) and rings as well. “I have my little trinkets,” Depp has said.

Von Furstenberg says that the element of Depp’s style that she most respects is something that comes from within: “His personality and star quality are very earnest,” she shares. “Personality is what I respect.”

Depp won’t be in New York for Monday night’s awards, but you can catch the rest of the celeb-studded action during a broadcast on Style.com on Tuesday, June 5, at noon ET. And visit People.com Monday evening to see all of the CFDA Awards’ style stars! Tell us: Do you consider Johnny Depp to be a fashion icon?

–Catherine Kast, with reporting by Suzanne Zuckerman


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