It’s truly a tragedy that the fashion world doesn’t recognized the endless contributions Beyonce has made to the world of fashion more often. When I think of iconic style looks, my mind is bombarded with an endless Rolodex of examples from Destiny’s Child’s catalogue of music videos. The coordinated hoochie mama animal pelt bikinis from Survivor, the endless yardage of craft-store suede fringe of Bootylicious, the laced-up pastel pleather eleganza of Bills, Bills, Bills. Literally every luxe club rat look from Jumpin Jumpin. She also wore some other stuff later in her career, but it can’t hold a candle to the gorgeously gaudy couture she wore during the DC days. The Council of Fashion Designers of America agrees, and they gave her an award last night in NYC. I’m assuming the award was mostly for the iconic DC looks.
Every year the CFDA Fashion Awards give out the Fashion Icon award. Usually they announce the nominees of the award before the show, but this year they kept their lips sealed regarding who was up for it. Vogue says that everyone figured the CFDA kept it hush-hush because the award was going to go to First Lady Michelle Obama. Instead, Beyonce surprised everyone by getting the award. A surprise second only to the fact that Beyonce, Jay Z, and the first alleged Becky Rachel Roy were all at the same event and didn’t cause the Beyhive to go into Code Bey meltdown mode.
You can read Beyonce’s full acceptance speech here, but I’ve included the most important part below. And yes, I’m of course referring to the part where she talks about proudly wearing Tina Knowles’ homemade fashions.
“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 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. 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.”
I’m sure that must have sucked at the time. Walking into a fancy high-end fashion boutique is intimidating enough without a Snobby Saleswoman #2 looking your country ass up and down and giving you the kind of stink face usually reserved for expired foie gras. But Beyonce is truly better for it. Without the low-budget trailblazing tackiness of Beyonce past, we wouldn’t have the confident plastic dress-wearing Beyonce of today.
Here’s more of Beyonce in what looks like Mama Tina’s interpretation of an Amish community theater production of Bugsy Malone (she’s actually wearing Givenchy). Also included is Jay Z all tuxed up and Blue Ivy Carter, who is probably wearing something more expensive than my whole life.