See her accept her Fashion Icon award

The CFDA Awards red carpet included many major red carpet moments, both classy and quirky. But just when it appeared to be winding down, Queen Bey topped them all: She was announced as the CFDA Fashion Icon — without even dropping a hint she’d be attending! Her husband Jay-Z, daughter Blue Ivy, and her mom Tina Knowles sat front row to watch her accept the award.

Beyonce CFDA Winner on stage

Theo Wargo/Getty

The singer was introduced by CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg, who called her “today’s biggest superstar.” The crowd gave her a standing ovation as she took the stage to her song “Formation” in a sparkly, striped Givenchy suit.

“As long as I can remember, fashion has always been a part of my life,” she said. “Its effect on me actually started before I was born. Most of you guys don’t know this, but my grandmother was a seamstress.” She went on to say that her grandmother made clothes for clergy members in exchange for her mother Tina’s Catholic school tuition. Tina learned her mother’s sewing skills, and was instrumental in creating iconic looks for Destiny’s Child. But those looks weren’t easy to pull together.

“When we were starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels, they didn’t want to dress four black, country, curvy girls,” the singer explained. “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.”

RELATED PHOTOS: See past CFDA Fashion Icon winners here!
Her mother and her uncle Johnny “designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand … putting so much passion and love into every small detail,” she said. “When I wore these clothes on stage I felt like [Game of Thrones queen] Khaleesi; I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”

And Tina’s style influence has gone even further than those early years: Beyonce revealed that her mother designed her romantic, ruffled gown for her 2008 wedding to Jay-Z, her prom dress, her first Grammys dress, her first CFDA Awards dress and many more.

To accept her Fashion Icon award, though, she wore a sparkling pinstripe suit, along with $9 million in Lorraine Schwartz jewelry and a wide-brimmed black hat in a style recognizable to anyone who has seen the Lemonade videos. And if the outfit looks familiar, there may be a couple reasons — it appears very similar to the ensemble Bella Hadid wore to the De Grisogono party in Cannes in May, as well as a look sported by one of Bey’s heroes, Michael Jackson.

She closed her speech with a moving dedication: “…To my mother, my uncle and to my grandma, thank y’all,” she said. “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.”

She continued: “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 and 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 and 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 eyes can see. You have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, to embrace their complications and see the true beauty

To show people how to embrace their complications and see 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, and God bless y’all.”

Watch the full speech below, then tell us: What do you think of Bey winning the Fashion Icon award?

–Catherine Kast