Fashion & Philanthropy


Red Gowns, Fashion, Solidarity and Big Hearts

Maria Chulia


The Red Dress Collection joins fashion and solidarity to promote heart health in women.


During the most recent New York Fashion Week, America’s top designers presented their 2014-2015 fall-winter collections, but there was also room for solidarity.

In February, the US celebrates Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease in women of all ages. The American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” (GRFW) movement and the National Heart, Lungs and Blood Institute (NHLBI) “Heart Truth” campaign joined forces to present The Red Dress Collection. The main purpose of this fashion show was to draw attention to heart disease, one of the leading causes of death among women. Both organizations use the color red as a symbol; therefore, the participants wore red gowns from some of the best fashion designers showing in New York.

But not all the women who appeared on the catwalk are professional models. Celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis revealed that she had been diagnosed, at birth, with a heart murmur and for years was subjected to rigorous testing to check the status of her condition. Giada looked stunning in a gorgeous gown by Carolina Herrera.

Movie star Bella Thorne wore Badgley Mischka. As the actress explained, she participated in memory of many of her relatives, who have succumbed to heart disease. Lindsey Vonn, the alpine ski champion and current girlfriend of Tiger Woods, walked the runway with the help of crutches in a red dress signed by Cynthia Rowley. Her presence on the show was received with enthusiastic applause from the audience, never more deserving after she recently suffered an injury that prevented her from participating in the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Go Red for Women
1. Macy’s CEO, Martine Reardon and Nancy Brown, CEO of American Heart Association address the audience.
2. Star Jones addresses the audience.

The names of the great designers who donated the gowns for the show reminded us of their commitment to eradicating heart disease. They didn’t hesitate to provide their own creations in order to support this important cause and give it the prestige it deserves. Oscar de la Renta, Catherine Malandrino, Dolce and Gabbana, Marc Bouwer, Alice + Olivia and the aforementioned Carolina Herrera and Cynthia Rowley designed dresses that expressed the union of fashion and philanthropy.

Donna Karan was another of the labels present at the event. Ireland Baldwin wore one of her creations and was the most photographed by the media. The daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, who inherited her parents’ good looks, said she was quite nervous minutes before the show, and although she works in fashion, this was her first catwalk.

Go Red for Women
1. Giada De Laurentiis, wearing Carolina Herrera.
2. Ireland Baldwin in Donna Karan.
3. Lindsey Vonn walks the runway in a Cynthia Rawley dress.

These brave women forgot, for a few minutes, their stage fright, got dressed in red and had lots of fun. The event was well worth it. Bringing attention to heart disease was the most important reward. With elegance, enthusiasm and plenty of pride, they are helping to reach the goal of uniting women in the fight against this deadly disease, and raising awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and daily exercise to reduce their risks of getting ill.

The first show of this valuable campaign took place in 2001. Some of the pioneers of this movement include Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum and Liza Minelli, who heeded the call of the heart in the first edition of the Red Dress Collection.


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