A cast of celebrity models including Hilary Duff, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, Cicely Tyson and Katie Couric helped kick off fashion week Friday in this year’s The Red Dress Collection at the Bryant Park Tents.
Each of the 20 notables hit the Broadway-esque runway in designer red dresses. Backstage, girl talk abounded but participants kept the heart disease awareness event’s message in mind. Wearing a Carolina Herrera gown, Lynda “Wonder Woman” Carter said, “So we get to be divas, but [we’re] still talking about something of substance.”
Wearing a Donna Karan gown, Duff was fronting her boss, so to speak. She has a hand in Femme for DKNY Jeans, but remains an actress at heart with three independent films set to launch, as well as a TV series — rumored to be called “Barely Legal.
In a case of new-media-meets-old-media, Couric gladly took a TMZ videographer’s cellphone to chat up his friend in Los Angeles while his camera was rolling. Earlier the CBS newscaster, dressed in a Carmen Marc Valvo red sequined gown, joked about prepping for her runway debut. “I¹ve been practicing looking hungry and angry,” she said. She was more frank about nightly news viewers’ preoccupation with her appearance. “It’s natural. I think women have more to scrutinize. They can have a little more variety in their wardrobes and they can style their hair differently. They don’t have to have the same hair from birth to baldness,” Couric said.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Amanda Beard weighed in on fellow Olympian Michael Phelps’ widely publicized pot smoking. Wearing a Vera Wang gown, figure skater and “Dancing With the Stars” champ Yamaguchi said, “It’s great that he’s owning up to it and apologized. As a fellow Olympian, I hope he learns from it.”
A Cushnie et Ochs-clad Beard said, “I think he’s human and he made a mistake. I’m really excited to see him swim in 2012 because he is pure entertainment.”
Jane Kaczmarek, whose foundation, Clothes Off Our Back, will auction the event’s dresses, was not convinced. After her spin on the runway, she joked, “It was forever!”