Updated: Friday, 07 February 2014 15:19 | By Agence France-Presse

Celebrities strut catwalk in New York dress gala

Celebrities have burst onto New York Fashion Week, donning couture red dresses made by some of America's top designers and strutting the catwalk to raise money for heart disease.


Celebrities strut catwalk in New York dress gala

Ireland Baldwin (L), Bella Thorne (C), Annasophia Robb pictured at The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show in New York on February 6, 2014 - by Stan Honda

Actresses, TV personalities, sports celebrities and musicians were dressed in custom-made red evening gowns to raise money for what is the number one killer of women in the United States.

The Red Dress Campaign is a charity gala that takes place each year during New York Fashion Week when organizers rely on the pulling power of popular names to rake in the cash.

US singer and rock guitarist Joan Jett, who lost her mother to congenital heart failure, said Thursday's event was very personal.

"You got no heart, you got no life, so I think it's important for women to recognize that," said Jett, dressed in a scarlet jumpsuit.

Anika Noni Rose, a singer and actress who appeared in Hollywood film "Dreamgirls" and is currently in rehearsals on Broadway, said New York came alive during Fashion Week.

"New York is such a stylish city," she told AFP.

"It fits New York but it becomes more exciting. I feel like you see more people on the streets dressed for Fashion Week, whether they're going to a show or not, because they know it's here. And it's pretty fantastic."

Rose said she was honored to be taking to the runway in memory of a friend's mother who died of heart disease.

Singer Colbie Caillat, who performed in support of Russian protest group Pussy Riot on Wednesday, wore a plunging gown by her red carpet favorite Nicole Miller.

"I'm excited. It's something girls always dream of doing and I'm also nervous because there's all these cameras," she said while having her hair primped for the runway.

One in four American women die of heart disease.

"The whole point is to bring awareness to women and it brought awareness to me. I had no idea that heart disease is the number one killer for women," Caillat said.

Actress Gina Torres was dressed in a bright-red Marchesa ballgown and had assistants scurrying behind, micro-managing the dozens of layers of tulle in her skirt.

"I feel incredible in it. It's like a fairy tale," she said.

Torres also expressed support for the cause.

"We tend to put ourselves last in life and so it's nice to have something like this, a little glamour, just to remind everyone -- put yourself first, take a little time out," she said.

Ireland Baldwin, daughter of A-list actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, looked stunning in a one-shoulder Donna Karan sheath dress showing off a tattoo on her arm.

"It's amazing, absolutely incredible. I mean it's so comfortable. I don't even feel like I'm wearing a dress, I feel I'm a mermaid or something," she cooed.

New York Fashion Week kicks off the industry's fall/winter 2014 season with a new look and 300 catwalk presentations before shows head to London, Paris and Milan.

Dominated by big US designers led by Marc Jacobs, emerging talent from Europe, Asia and for the first time, Australia, will snip at the sidelines hoping for their big break.

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