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Caitlyn Jenner getting ready for the ESPY Awards
Caitlyn Jenner getting ready for the ESPY AwardsVia @caitlynjenner Instagram

Caitlyn Jenner reveals the story behind that Versace gown

“Donatella reached out to me and said, ‘I want to do the dress.’ I said, ‘I am SO in’”

In a new post on her blog, Caitlyn Jenner has revealed the story behind the white Atelier Versace gown she wore to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs last week. According to the post, she was worried about what to wear – until Donatella Versace stepped in:

“Donatella reached out to me and said, ‘I want to do the dress.’ I said, ‘I am SO in,’” she explains. “We started with designs; they made the dress in Italy. Her head dressmaker came over and we did two fittings to make sure we got it just absolutely perfect. It was like every fantasy of my life come true.”

“I really wanted to feel real comfortable up there (although there was a corset under that dress, so I don’t know how comfortable I was!),” she continues. “I wanted to feel good. I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to be myself.”

But though Caitlyn felt like she “looked great”, she admits to having an issue with her voice: “It’s not quite right compared to my feminine appearance. That bothers me a little bit. However, I hope that people don’t listen to the pitch of my voice, but listen to what I have to say. That’s important to me.”

“I wanted to feel good. I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to be myself.” 

And people certainly did listen to what she had to say. In her inspirational speech she spoke about her struggles transitioning, as well as other hardships facing her and the rest of the trans community, while speaking out for trans rights. 

“They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered, they’re committing suicide...” she said. “If you want to call me names…go ahead, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”

So while fashion is playing a role in her transition – something that gossip magazines are chronicling, outfit by outfit – there’s a lot more to Jenner than her clothes. Her speech was lauded by many members of the trans community, including OITNB star Laverne Cox and Dazed 100 model Andreja Pejić, as well the designer of the gown herself. “Caitlyn’s speech was touching!” Versace told Dazed. “Her words are relevant and she is an inspiration to the world and me.”

Since coming out as trans in an interview with Diane Sawyer back in April, Jenner has been a vocal advocate of trans rights, while helping increase the visibility of trans issues. 

Watch Caitlyn Jenner's full speech below: