Empowerment was the de facto theme at the third annual InStyle Awards Monday night, where Hollywood and fashion A-listers from Cate Blanchett and Zendaya to Cindy Crawford gathered on an open-air patio at The Getty Center to celebrate one another and those behind the scenes that make the glamour possible.
Attendees were dressed to the nines on the hot October night in Los Angeles. But glitz seemed to be the last thing on anyone's mind as they took the stage to speak to the intimate crowd, which included the likes of Heidi Klum, Kate Bosworth, Brie Larson, Ellen Pompeo, Faith Hill, Taika Waititi and Connie Britton among others.
"What we've created with fashion goes beyond just clothes and hair and makeup. We've created a platform to show different types of beauty," style star honoree Zendaya said.
Mothers, she said, have told her that because she wears her hair in an Afro style, that their daughters like their own hair now. "What the world needs right now is people who are exactly who they are," she said.
Blanchett, who was given the Style Icon award, also used her platform to talk about how the true icons of style are women "who have been utterly themselves without apology."
"It's about women who feel free to wear what they want, when they want and how they want to wear. And we know we all like looking sexy, but it doesn't mean we want to (expletive) you," Blanchett said to loud cheers. "I wouldn't say to Steve Bannon, 'You look like a bag of trash. Do you want me to throw you out?' But the comments that get said about what women wear on the red carpet ..."
Demi Lovato, recognized for her advocacy work, said that "the more you talk about issues and the things that you've gone through, the more you can help others. That's what's really important: Sharing life experiences with other people on this planet."
Positivity dominated the proceedings of the evening, which saw emotional speeches from makeup artist Hung Vanngo, who talked about his humble beginnings in war-torn Vietnam and a refugee camp, and hair stylist Harry Josh, who advocated for cruelty-free products.
One name that wasn't mentioned on the podium, however, was Harvey Weinstein or the culture of sexual harassment that has dominated talk in the industry for the past three weeks, even among otherwise outspoken advocates like Brie Larson and Lovato.
But there was an undeniable recurring message of defiance and power that permeated every speech.
"I have to say, bring it on ladies," Blanchett said. "Break it wide open."