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Beyoncé Reveals Drive to Design Own Pieces as She Accepts CFDA Fashion Icon Award: ‘High-End Labels Didn’t Want to Dress Black, Curvy Girls’

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Beyoncé took a breather from her Formation World Tour to attend the annual CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City Monday night. The “Lemonade” hitmaker was accompanied by her husband rapper Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy. The singer’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson and her husband, actor Richard Lawson, also attended.

 

Bey walked the red carpet with 4-year-old Blue and Jay. The Houston native was dressed in a wide-brimmed black hat from her tour closet and a sparkling pinstriped Givenchy suit, according to Vogue. The look coordinated with the rapper’s dapper suit and Blue’s black dress and white blazer.

Though Knowles-Lawson skipped the red carpet, she was prominently featured in her daughter’s acceptance speech. Bey explained fashion had been part of her life since before she was born.

“Most of you guys don’t know this but my grandmother was a seamstress,” the fashion designer explained. “My grandparents did not have enough money and 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 down to my mother and taught her how to sew.”

She continues, “When we were 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 creativity to giver her children their dreams. My mother and my Uncle Johnny, God bless his soul, designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail.”

“When I wore these clothes on stage I felt like Khaleesi,” Beyoncé adds, referring to the HBO “Game of Thrones” character. “I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”

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Bey revealed Knowles-Lawson designed nearly every important gown she ever wore, including her prom dress, first Grammy dress and her wedding gown.

As the star wrapped her speech and moved her mother to tears, she praised the fashion industry for allowing young women to see themselves in media.

“We have an opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or magazine cover and see her own reflection,” Beyoncé said. “Soul has no color, no shape, no form. Just like all your work, it goes so far beyond what the eyes can see. 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 that’s inside all of us.”

The CFDA awards is an event by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. It celebrates contributions to American fashions by those in the industry and the arts, according to the website.

See Bey’s complete acceptance speech below.

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