48-year-old star Tracee Ellis Ross stunned in a white Alexander McQueen ensemble with thigh-high leather boots as she accepted the Fashion Icon Award at the 2020 People’s Choice Awards on Sunday, November 15.
“Tracee, do you take fashion to be your lawfully wedded wife? I do,” she joked at the start of her acceptance speech. “Thank you for validating my shopping habit.”
Ross went on to thank the magazine industry and the stylists she has worked with throughout her career, including Karla Welch, whom she called her “collaborator in rule-breaking.”
Continuing, she thanked her father Robert Ellis Silberstein “for his impeccable style and for being my humour twin,”
She also paid homage to her mother, superstar Diana Ross.
“Obviously, I have to thank the icon herself, my mom. Not only for her great parenting and not acquiescing to my very many whimsical and outrageous requests and tantrums … but also her style, her epic closet and glamour that introduced me to the power of fashion,” Tracee shared.
While her mother once denied her request for a “seasonal shopping budget,” Tracee went on to call the singer’s closet “the best fashion playground of all time.”
She recalled scanning the stage after Diana’s performances and gathering beads that fell off of her dresses, “so that I could have pieces of the magic, seeds of the fashion dream that I was cultivating for myself.”
Ross added that as she ventured out on her own and started paying her own way, she didn’t have enough money to “buy the clothes that matched the taste level that I was accustomed to stealing from my mom’s closet” so she went thrifting and found her love of vintage clothing.
“Second-hand clothing helped me understand that style has nothing to do with money,” she said. “It’s the way you put things together. Style is the how not the what.”
“I wear my insides on the outside, and if featuring Black designers at the American Music Awards helps someone see the power of Black artistry, or if joining the call to wear black at the Golden Globes led to solidarity with women saying time’s up on sexual harassment, then you heard me loud and clear,” she said. “If fashion is the thing that draws you in, then use it as a tool for transformation.”
“Use fashion as an entrance. Let your clothes be your superhero cape, allowing you to be the best you, you can be,” she urged. “Activate the clothes through your joy and commitment to the world that you want to see. It doesn’t matter if you wear black tie or a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, but suit up and show up, because our action creates our destiny, our joy creates space for our freedom. GASenate.com, donate, get involved, stay engaged people — we’ve got work to do. Thank you, I am a fashion icon!”
With Diana Ross as her mother, the actress has had a passion for fashion since she was young.
In her teens, she modelled for some of the biggest names and designers and has since delighted fans with her haute couture and glamorous red carpet style.