NEW YORK – Rosie O’Donnell opened with a wry quip: “I had a lot of stress today, I don’t know if you heard.”
Hours after ending her second stint as a host of ABC’s The View, O’Donnell was on a fashion runway – a strange place for her to be, she said – introducing the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” Red Dress Collection, an annual fashion show featuring entertainment personalities modeling bright red designer dresses to promote awareness of heart disease.
O’Donnell herself donned a red jacket and black pants to open the show Thursday night, but she wasn’t hazarding a walk down the runway (and back) teetering on stilettos. That job fell to some 20 women of all ages, culminating in a much-cheered appearance by actress Barbara Eden, the 83-year-old former star of the 1960s series I Dream of Jeannie, who even did her trademark fold-the-arms-and-blink move for the cameras.
Eden wore a lacy Carmen Marc Valvo gown. Others at the show, which was presented by Macy’s, included TV personality Star Jones in a B. Michael gown, who brought along her tiny white dog on a leash (the dog appeared to be a real pro, hardly flinching in the hot lights and loud music).
Some of the biggest cheers were awarded to Laverne Cox, a star of TV’s Orange is the New Black and the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. Cox twirled at the top of the runway in her gauzy Donna Karan number.
The crowd also responded to the enthusiasm of NBC host Hoda Kotb, who wore Romona Keveza and energetically acted out all the lyrics to “Uptown Funk” as she danced down the runway.
Disney Channel personality Zendaya donned a smashing Rubin Singer gown, short in front and long in the back, with pink accents.
Mexican actress Thalia wore a dress from her own line, Thalia, for Macy’s. Actress Donna Mills, best known for Knot’s Landing, wore Mark Zunino.
While everyone wore glamorous gowns, only supermodel Irina Pantaeva shimmered on top of her head: She was wearing a bejeweled headpiece, resembling a winter hat of rhinestones.
The show ended with a song from the girl group Fifth Harmony – all clad in red, of course.