Fashion, according to world renowned fashion diva Beyoncé, is simply put “a tool for finding your own identity.”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards [CFDA Awards] this year honored style as a whole. A gang of people all intrigued by the idea of showcasing themselves and others in extravagantly and sharply designed clothing joined last night [Monday, June 6] at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York to honor the universal quest for self definition. Congratulatory nods were doled out to the Menswear and Womenswear designer’s of the year, Swarovksi award recipients and the coveted Fashion Icon award was presented by the legendary Diane Von Furstenberg to Beyoncé. Moving tributes to fallen musical legends David Bowie and Prince were staged, acknowledging their completely innovative usage of the fashion medium and costume.

Ciara arrived strolling down the red carpet in a peach colored Roberto Cavalli dress paired with Staurt Weitzman pumps while Naomi Campbell stunned in a Brandon Maxwell ensemble. American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson showed up in an overtly red Joseph Altuzarra gown clinging onto the designer himself. The Carters—Beyoncé, JAY Z and Blue Ivy—subscribed completely to the Riccardo Tisci Givenchy aesthetic. While the designer was not present mingling with the family his presence was felt through design. Joan Smalls was provided by Tisci with a one of one Givenchy Haute couture piece and Eddie Borgo jewelry.

Joel McHale, the comedic host of the evening setup each appearance with clever wise cracks culminating in a moment in which household name Marc Jacobs waltzed onto stage in a black T-shirt to accept his well deserved Womenswear Designer of the Year award for his work on a strong eponymous female line. “Marc, we have your tux backstage,” Joel wittingly remarked. Similarly a male design titan, Thom Browne, lauded for his shortened and tailored suits and clean attire options, was handed the award for Menswear designer of the year, donning a pair of suit shorts that disregarded formality. The two primary designer honorees came through casually cool.

Swarovski logos adorned Hammerstein Ballroom and the three “Swarovski” awards for emerging designers went home with Paul Andrew for accessories, to the Orley label for menswear, and to Brandon Maxwell for womenswear. Maxwell a favorite stylist to female icons like Lady Gaga, explained the duality of being gay and enamored by fashion in a town in which it was discouraged and looked down upon. Maxwell confirmed Bey’s sentiment that fashion is truly synonymous with identity by praising it for giving him “purpose in life”.

An evening for those who have made fashion their everything and livelihood, Norma Kamali, revered for her “sleeping bag” coats and the red Farrah Fawcett worn Baywatch swimsuit, received the veritable lifetime achievement award from presenter Michael Kors, and Donna Karan was given the Founder’s Award from associate designer Calvin Klein. All individuals who’ve devoted the majority of their lives to forming new style innovations, the CFDA Awards provided a gang of fashion arbiters with their highest honors.

“There is a magnetic presence to her. I like to think that I know what Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page did to a room by walking into it because I’m pretty sure that’s what Beyoncé has.” Givenchy director Riccardo Tisci explained to Vogue Bey’s special powers. Beyoncé, who has already achieved the highest recognition in her world and realm of musical creativity also took away an esteemed reward for her badass fashion aesthetic delivering a powerful speech.

“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.” Referencing an all powerful character from Game of Thrones, Beyoncé with the addition of the CFDA icon award is continuing to cement herself in the annals of history and is sitting atop a righteous throne.

Respecting the intersection between fashion and music, David Bowie a.k.a “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and Prince “The Purple One” were both designated musical tributes. “You have brought out the freak in everyone,” exclaimed friend to Bowie Tilda Swinton, before John C. Hall, fresh off of a Broadway stint performing in Bowie’s Lazarus musical launched into a performance of “Changes.” Jennifer Hudson let loose and gave all of her vocal ability to closing out the show, joined by purple lighting and covering “Let’s Go Crazy” inviting everyone decked out in flashy name brand garments to jump up and down, even those wearing stilettos.