It's Rihanna's risk-taking that makes her a star among the fashion elite, and the brave beauty did what she does best-- turned heads-- Monday night at the CFDA Fashion Awards in NYC as she accepted her Fashion Icon award.

Not just anyone would stand beside Anna Wintour in a completely see-through dress, but RiRi did it with pride, drenched in 216,000 Swarovski crystals that made her over-exposed assets shine.

The gown was custom-made by Adam Selman, who has crafted many a stage costume for the singer, and was accessorized with a sparkling headwrap-- and noticeably not with a bra.

"Rihanna speaks to her fans with her every look," Wintour said on stage. "The point is to be audacious, even jaw-dropping or button-pushing — and yes, we know she enjoys pushing buttons — while remaining true to yourself."

Rihanna, who grew up in Barbados, said she was relying on fashion to make a statement long before it was her time in the spotlight.

"As far as I could remember, fashion has always been my defense mechanism," she said. "Even as a child I remember thinking, 'She can beat me, but she cannot beat my outfit.' And to this day I mean, that is how I think about it. I can compensate for all my weaknesses with my fashion."