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Celebrities walk the catwalk for a healthy heart

Laura Bush's message encouraging women to exercise to keep their hearts healthy struck a chord with the celebrity models at Friday's Red Dress Collection fashion show: Many of them, including Heidi Klum, Sara Rameriz, Ashanti and Rita Moreno, danced down the runway.
/ Source: The Associated Press

This was the fifth time the anti-heart disease campaign came to New York Fashion Week, but there was no sign of fatigue — not from the cheering audience, the animated celebrities, the top designers lending their gowns or from the first lady herself. In fact, she hopes to keep working on the Heart Truth campaign, for which she's served as ambassador from the start, even next year when she leaves the White House. Perhaps she'll have more time then, she said with a smile.

"I don't know if I'll be quite this much in demand next year," Bush said.

She wants to stay involved because since the Heart Truth launched, the number of women dying each year from heart disease in the U.S. has decreased. "We're getting good results from this."

Bush didn't actually wear a red outfit to the show, held as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Bryant Park tents, opting instead for a cream-colored Oscar de la Renta skirt suit. She wanted to stand out a bit from the models, she explained, but she did wear her red-dress pin and red lipstick.

Sitting in the front row with her daughter Barbara, Bush said she several of the outfits caught her eye, although she personally wouldn't wear the strapless ones. "Maybe I could get one with sleeves."

Klum had the skimpiest dress — a short two-layer slip dress by Marc Jacobs with thin spaghetti straps.

"It came in the bag — I saw everyone else getting big gowns, hats — and I said, `This is it?'" Klum said. "It's small but it's cute. I like it."

Klum doesn't grace the runway often anymore (except as host on “Project Runway”) — but said this show was a good cause but also fun because the sometimes-jaded fashion crowd really gets into it, and so the models let loose. "You become naturally more animated with feedback," she explained.

Lisa Rinna, in a cocktail dress with tiers of fringe by Michael Kors, worked the runway, shimmying and shaking all the way down, and Camryn Manheim, wearing a satin gown by Ali Rahimi, played to the loose paparazzi theme of the show, donning sunglasses and pulling out and applying lip gloss in front of the photographers.