Elle Fanning Credits Big Bird for the Confidence to Wear Cool Fashion at the InStyle Awards

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What makes a woman a certified fashion lover?

Is it designer clothing? Excellent taste? Stylish genes? As we learned at the InStyle Awards 2017, it's all about confidence.

On Monday night inside Los Angeles's Getty Center, Elle Fanning took the stage to accept the award for Breakthrough Style Star. Clearly, she's incredibly deserving of the award considering she arrived in a fantastically sexy Versace dress—straight off the spring 2018 runway—covered with Marilyn Monroe's face on it.

Elle Fanning
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

And while her red carpet look was unarguably memorable, it was her speech that won us over. On stage, Fanning thanked her stylist, Samantha McMillen, along with her mom. But she also thanked one surprising character: Sesame Street's Big Bird.

"Fashion has been something that's just always inspired me and been such a big kind of creative outlet for me to be able to tell my story, tell my personality through what I want to wear that day," Fanning began.

She proceeded to tell the tale of a time in the 7th grade when she chose to experiment with daring fashion. "We had these things called Free Dress Fridays at our school, 'cause we went to a school that had uniforms," she told the A-list crowd. "I remember picking out, laying out my clothes down to, like, the right color socks that you would never see, but I knew they were there."

So what outfit has she never forgotten?

"I bought this Opening Ceremony top that was light pink and it had Big Bird on it, like little Big Birds all over the top, and I was like, 'Oh, I'm gonna wear this with these bell-bottom jeans and these platform shoes," she continued.

"I went to school and I was brutally made fun of," she said, explaining that she considered changing her style after her classmates didn't approve. The results? She said changing her look didn't make her feel like herself, so she hasn't since, crediting the evening's Versace number as a risk-taking dress.

"I pushed it. We're going for it! Thank you for that," she said. "Now, thanks to Big Bird and to Samantha and to InStyle and my mom…[this] is dedicated to all those high school kids."

Talk about coming full circle.

—with reporting by Kim Peiffer

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