— -- Beyonce has long proved that she is a fashion icon, but receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2016 CFDA Awards Monday, the singer recalled a time when high-end designers would not give her the time of day.
"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," Beyonce told the crowd after receiving the honor from Council of Fashion Designers of America president Diane von Furstenberg. "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."
Wearing a sparkly pinstripe Givenchy suit and a huge Bolero hat from her Formation tour, Beyonce then spoke of her early outfits as a performer.
"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," she recalled. "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."
Referring to "Game of Thrones" character Daenerys Targaryen, Beyonce said, "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."
She then thanked her family, including her mother, Tina Knowles, who was in the audience. "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," she said.
She also reminded the designers that they 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."
You can check out the entire speech at Vogue.com.