Jennifer Lopez was honored with the Fashion Icon award at the CFDA Awards tonight. Although the award is typically given to those who possess a natural sense of style and love for fashion, Lopez was humble in her acceptance speech. She instead chose to credit the people who have helped shape her look over the years. Lopez first recognized Andrea Lieberman, who styled her in the ’90s, including her famous plunging green Versace dress that inspired Google Images. She also praised her current styling team, Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, and dedicated the award to her late beauty heroes, Kevyn Aucoin and Oribe. Lopez acknowledged the Bronx neighbors who introduced her to hip-hop, the designers she has collaborated with, and her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez, and their children, who make her feel loved and beautiful.
Tom, I just want to express my gratitude for your kind words. I’ve admired you for such a long time because of your immense talent and creativity, as well as your ability to reinvent yourself. Like everyone else here, I’ve followed your journey from Gucci and YSL to your very own label. You’ve transformed it into a powerhouse, and I know that in our household, Alex couldn’t survive without you. I’d like to think that it’s me that he can’t live without, but we both know the truth! (laughs)
Being recognized for the fashion image you project is a tremendous honor. However, when you become aware of the power of fashion at a young age, even subconsciously, you know that it will play a significant role in your life. We all realize how influential fashion is from an early age, whether it’s when your dad tells you that you look beautiful in your special dress or when your grandma fusses over you. You understand that how people perceive you is crucial, and a significant portion of that perception is influenced by what you wear. However, as my career progressed and expanded into movies and music, I realized that fashion is much more profound than that. It could set trends in pop culture through movie roles or music videos. Fashion could empower you, inspire you, and give you the confidence you need to perform in front of thousands of people. In essence, fashion is about creating powerful moments that can change your life and the world around you.
Acknowledging the recognition from some of the most talented artists and designers in the world for pursuing what you love is indeed an honor, and I am grateful. My upbringing in Bronx, which some of you may already know [laughs], has had a significant influence on my fashion choices. Therefore, wearing Ralph Lauren tonight, who also hails from the Bronx, was a must! I believe he understands a girl’s fondness for crop tops, ponytails, sparkles, and a little drama. Growing up in the 80s in the Bronx introduced me to fashion. Despite not having an extensive collection of clothing, I would transform my sweatshirts and jeans into miniskirts while attempting to imitate my idols, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper.
I was also influenced by the hip-hop explosion at that time, which was prevalent in my neighborhood back then. The baggy jeans, shell-toe Adidas, Timberland boots, and lots of jewelry were the defining features of the hip-hop fashion scene. As it is said, too much jewelry was never enough. Some things remain unchanged even today. And, of course, my signature hoops; I can’t leave them out!
After taking the 6 train into the city and transforming her look with Dr. Martens and a shorter haircut, the speaker discovered a world of fashion beyond what she had known before. She was exposed to renowned figures in the industry such as Oribe and Kevyn Aucoin, who had worked with the supermodels she had admired in Vogue magazine. When given the chance to choose her team for a photoshoot, she found herself working with these same individuals. The speaker’s love for Hollywood musicals from past decades also influenced her style, and she was fortunate enough to work with experts in fashion design, including Oscar de la Renta and Versace. As a curvy woman, she struggled to find clothing that fit her body type, but the designers she worked with allowed her to explore high-end fashion. The speaker is grateful for the changing attitude towards curves and the blending of street style with couture.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of two amazing artists, Kevyn Aucoin in 2002 and Oribe just recently. They played a significant role in transforming me from an ordinary girl to a magazine cover-worthy one. Our combined efforts produced the most iconic looks, and I will be forever grateful for their contributions. With this award, I would like to honor them.
This year holds a special place in my heart as I am about to embark on a tour in celebration of a milestone birthday (let’s keep the number between us, shall we?). Additionally, it marks the 20th anniversary of my album On the 6, and it has been almost two decades since I wore that unforgettable green Versace dress. Ever since that moment, green has become my lucky color. That dress has been with me through 40 movies, 11 albums, a few divorces, and a couple of babies. However, it has also led to countless fantastic moments. As this night demonstrates, there is so much more to look forward to.
As I wrap things up, I’d like to express my gratitude towards a select group of individuals who have been a significant part of my life for quite some time. In this industry, it’s crucial to have folks who truly comprehend you and don’t attempt to change you. For me, in the fashion realm, those individuals are none other than Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn – my trusted stylists. Rob and Mariel, your understanding of me is unparalleled. I understand that I can be quite difficult at times, but we’ve managed to channel that energy into creating countless unforgettable moments. Our collaboration means the world to me, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have you both in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I would like to express my gratitude to Scott Barnes, my longtime makeup artist, for his unparalleled ability to complement fashion and complete the look. To the rest of my glam squad, including Lorenzo and Chris Appleton, among others, thank you for your immense talent and skill. Additionally, I want to extend my appreciation to my family – Emmy, Max, Alex, Tashi, and Ella – for making me feel loved and like an MVP every day. Your love makes me feel beautiful inside and out.
I am deeply honored by the CFDA and grateful for this tremendous recognition. To all the designers in this room and throughout the industry, thank you for adding so much to both my personal and professional life. Collaborating with you and experiencing your art, style, and kindness has been an invaluable opportunity. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.