Red is Christie Brinkley’s color.
The veteran supermodel returned to the runway Wednesday night for the Red Dress Collection fashion show, an annual New York Fashion Week kickoff event that aims to draw attention to women’s heart health by putting celebrity catwalkers in a parade of gowns by some of the country’s most famous designers.
Strutting to “Uptown Girl,” she was all smiles in her Pamella Roland gown — even after a little stumble on the dress’s hem.
Brinkley is a supporter of the Heart Truth campaign, headed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and has participated in this event before. This year, though, she hesitated before deciding to don a dress again. Her own mother is suffering from serious heart disease, having experienced five strokes and a heart attack, and right now Brinkley says she feels like she should be spending quality time with her parents.
But they’re the ones who actually nudged her to do it, she said in a teary telephone interview Tuesday. “My parents understand more than anyone about the importance of getting the right care. They’re proud of me that I’ve reached a place where I can give back.”

Red dress at New York Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week. 

It’s undeniable: New York Fashion Week is a lot about fashion, but it’s also a lot about celebrity.
What Real Housewife can you get to your party? Which one can you get in your front row? The possibility of spotting a bona fide star anywhere near the tents has gotten lower and lower. What celeb wants to muscle in through throngs of people, be pushed by security guards and get her picture taken over and over and over again (even if she’s potentially getting a handsome paycheck)? Wait, wait, don’t answer that.
Shifting it around a little bit, for the last 10 years the Heart Truth campaign—a national hear disease awareness campaign for women sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—has organized a Red Dress Collection fashion show. Designers contribute a red dress—though it’s sometimes a deep shade of orange or pink—and, in lieu of skinny-wasted models, Heart Truth books recognizable ladies of various shapes and sizes to walk the runway.
As cheesy as this might sound, and to make matters a little bit confusing, it’s all sponsored by Diet Coke, this year’s Heart Truth show was actually very fun. Some of the celebrities who walked included Christie Brinkley in Pamella Roland, Gloria Estefan in Narciso Rodriguez, Linda Evans of “Dynasty” in Tadashi Shoji, Minka Kelly in Diane von Furstenberg, Rebecca Romijn in Marchesa and the Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger in Marc Bouwer.
Part of the appeal is, despite all being recognizable in their own lives, as they strut their stuff, all of these women end up looking pretty real. In fact, it all makes you realize how superhuman fashion models must be. At the Heart Truth show, the lighting was harsh, the ladies were nervous, their dresses were long and their shoes were high. A handful of them—including Ms. Brinkley and Rose McGowan—tripped. A handful of them—like Chaka Khan and Ms. Estefan—danced down the runway. One or two of them look liked they’d gotten hives from anxiety.
Interestingly enough, for the most part, the ladies with fuller figures were the ones who walked with the most confidence. (Though probably, to be fair, also in shorter heels.) Debbie Phelps took a break from her lap around the runway to kiss her son Michael in the audience. It was all rather adorable. And on the way out, waitresses passed out Diet Coke and straws in the shape of a heart. Have you ever gotten a better utilitarian gift from a fashion show than a straw in the shape of a heart? Doubtful.
Over at Chelsea Market, eBay’s celebrity wing had the debut of its walk-through gallery for an auction of memorabilia and the like to benefit Brad Pitt’s Make It Right charity. (Make It Right builds safe, sustainable homes for families post-Hurricane Katrina.) Consumers can bid on the items on display from the comfort of their couch, too.
We’re not going to lie: some of the lots are lamer than others. There’s a poster from the movie “Sucker Punch” signed by Vanessa Hudgens. (As of press time: one bid, $100), a Bottega Veneta gown Charlize Theron wore to the Toronto Film Festival in 2005 (that’s a long time ago, eh?), a pair of scrubs from “E.R.” signed by George Clooney & the show’s original cast (so far: one bid, $2,000.) Kanye West and Girl Talk donated iPods filled with their favorite music to sell starting at $2,000—so far Kanye has a bid, Girl Talk does not. An eBay spokesman expects that a day with Rachel Zoe would be the auction’s heat-seeking missile. (Starting bid was $5,000; as of Thursday afternoon, no takers.)

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