Top designers, celebrities and models — including Long Island natives Debbie Gibson and Madison Beer — came together at New York Fashion Week Thursday night dressed in their red-dress best for The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2016 show, presented by Macy’s.
The reason? One in three women will die of heart disease or stroke each year. That's one every 80 seconds. Additionally, more than 40 million women in the U.S. alone are affected by cardiovascular diseases. And 80 percent of those could be prevented with the proper care and attention.
"I've always loved the combo of awareness and entertainment," Gibson said when asked about the event. "I think it catches people's attention. Already, today, my fans on Twitter are donating to the cause. I think it just opens a whole other world of awareness."
Gibson, who promised "drama and rock and roll" with a bit of "sexy elegance," delivered just that while walking the runway in a gown by her "favorite designer," Jay Godfrey.
And although she is widely known for her style choices (who doesn’t remember the black hat?), the entertainer said she never really considered herself a fashionista. "I wouldn’t call myself a style icon, but the great thing about my style is that...it was so teenage and homespun that I could almost never make a mistake. I mean, even with the ripped jeans. We painted a face on my knee for a photoshoot and then that caught on," she said, referencing her "Out of the Blue" days.
Her personal style now? Anything that exudes rock and roll, elegance and is accessible. "Any little quirky things about my style work for me,” she added. "I didn’t set myself up to be a couture teenager. If I was one of the Kardashians, I'd have a lot to live up to. So I thank God I never did that. My fashion mistakes actually became trends."
Gibson also talked about her top three career achievements, which include the time she won ASCAP’s songwriter of the year award, performing with Elton John and Billy Joel and debuting in “Les Miserable” on Broadway.
As for what’s next, the 45-year-old said she just sold a movie to a major TV outlet, something she will be starring in, and is working on new music while continuing tour dates.
Another Long Island native, and Justin Bieber protegee, Madison Beer, walked the runway, making her modeling debut in a belted, high-slit Halston gown.
"My grandpa has heart issues, always has. So when they contacted me, I really connected with it, and I was really excited to be a part of something so helpful. Raising awareness is really important to me," said the 16-year-old about choosing this event for her modeling debut.
The rising star now lives and is home-schooled in Los Angeles, and she considers Rihanna her favorite singer and Top Shop her favorite store. Her favorite winter accessory? A faux fur coat.
Sharing the stage with the Long Island natives was “Fuller House” actress Candace Cameron-Bure (Badgley Mischka), singer Monica (IEENA for Mac Duggal), model and former Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo (Marchesa), Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (Carmen Marc Valvo), “Spy Kids” actress Alexa PenaVega (Gustavo Cadile), “Happily Divorced” actress Fran Drescher (La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni), “Access Hollywood" cohost Kit Hoover (Kanjan “Cake” Carlos), “Wheel of Fortune’s” Vanna White (Lee-Lim) and “The Brady Bunch” actress Florence Henderson (Pamella Roland), who will be celebrating her 82nd birthday in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day with a party planned by her children, she said.
Before hitting the stage, Henderson left us with why she feels it's important for women to get heart check-ups. "Women are always taking care of everyone else; they put themselves last. And I always say, 'no.' If you have kids, and a family, you need to take care of yourself first. So go ahead, have your doctor check out your heart. Check out your blood levels, cholesterol, all those things. Save yourself from a serious heart attack or diabetes."
To get involved and help save lives, visit goredforwomen.org.