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Red Dress fashion show draws attention to heart disease

Christie Brinkley during The Heart Truth show in New York on Feb. 4, 2005. Getty

(CBS/AP) Fashionistas will be seeing red tonight in New York.

The Red Dress Collection fashion show, an annual New York Fashion Week kickoff event, draws attention to women's heart health by putting celebrity catwalkers in a parade of gowns by some of the country's most famous designers.

Photos: Last year's fashion show
Special section: New York Fashion Week

The event is part of the Heart Truth campaign, headed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Red looks good on so many people, said Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman, explaining in part the popularity of the event among celebrities. Marchesa is once again lending a dress for the gala, to be worn by model and actress Rebecca Romijn.

Among the models will be Christie Brinkley, who has participated before, and Jenna Elfman, who is new to the catwalk.

Brinkley, 58, said she hesitated to take part this year because her mother is suffering from serious heart disease, having experienced five strokes and a heart attack, and Brinkley said she wants to spend quality time with her parents.

But they're the ones who actually nudged her to do it, she told the Associated Press. "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."

Elfman, making her Red Dress debut, planned to wear a strapless Alberta Ferretti. "I love fashion, I love performance, I love charity," she said.

The actress said she has wondered what models think about while they're strutting in front of hundreds of people, but she planned to repeat her mantra of "take big steps.''

Brinkley's advice to the newbies was simple: "You can't take a bad step when you're on that runway. You're there supporting this worthwhile, meaningful cause. And if you slip and fall, you'll make the news and spread the word even more."