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Red Dress Collection raises heart disease awareness with glamour

Thom Navarro, Erin Weness, and Maria Legatt
Thom Navarro, Erin Weness, and Maria Legatt
Tony Nelson

The second-annual Red Dress Collection closed out the first weekend of Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week at the Graves 601 Hotel. Produced by MNfashion, the event brought together more than a dozen talented local designers and celebrities for a charitable night of giving and glamour to raise awareness for women's heart disease.

CW's Carly Aplin hosted the event in a black Realia by Jen dress that combined lace, cutouts, and daring thigh-high slits for a truly eye-catching look. Before the runway show, Aplin introduced Maria Legatt, a survivor of congestive heart failure that told an emotional story about her own battle with heart disease from a young age. The two were also joined onstage by young heart disease survivor Erin Weness who has gone through several open heart surgeries -- and isn't even 10 years old. These personal tales brought the event to a new level, and served as an important reminder of what the night was all about: helping others with heart disease.

See also:
Gorgeous gowns at Red Dress Collection 2013 at the Graves

Amelia Santaniello in Richard Beckel.
Amelia Santaniello in Richard Beckel.
Tony Nelson

WCCO anchor Amelia Santaniello opened the runway show in a stunning piece by Richard Beckel. The strapless gown, accented with origami-style butterfly bows at the neckline and above the train, had an ultra-glam vibe.

Heart disease survivor Krista Wanous donned a playful design by Samantha Rei of Blasphemina's Closet. The mid-length scarlet dress came equipped with the fullness of a petticoat underneath the skirt, a signature element of the designer. Swathed in delicate, dotted black mesh, the Lolita-like getup came together in the back with an exaggerated ribbon laced up corset-style. The steampunk-inspired look also included a jaunty, miniature top hat with gold detailing and gold-spiked wedges.

Alix Kendall of Fox 9 owned the catwalk in a retro-inspired outfit by Rachel Blomgren. Perfect for the anchor's petite frame, the creation consisted of an a-line skirt with a line of detail buttons down the back and a long-sleeved peplum top.

Guild Collective's Pam Mondale wore a glamorous Emma Berg creation. The sleeveless dress hugged at the waist, with the pencil skirt bottom hitting at the knees. The look was topped by a flowing, floor-length train that billowed behind Mondale on the runway boasting a chevron design.

Rena Sarigianopoulos in Caroline Hayden
Rena Sarigianopoulos in Caroline Hayden
Tony Nelson

Rena Sarigianopoulos of KARE 11 looked positively old Hollywood in a Caroline Hayden design. The strapless dress was covered in extremely detailed beading from bodice to hem, and sparkled as Sarigianopolous walked down the catwalk. Adding to the glam-factor was an attached cape that trailed down to the floor with an elegant train. When the train proved to be less practical in the crowded lobby post-show, it became a draped shawl over her arms.

Other Minnesota celebs that hit the runway included Allison Kaplan in a free-flowing Lindsey Hopkins dress, Falen Bonsett in a Christopher Straub piece, and Sara Talebi in a showstopping Monique Lhuillier dress, among others.

The show seemed like it was over in a flash. And while the fashion was undeniably eye-catching, the true winners of the night were the heart disease survivors on the catwalk and off: All the proceeds from the event benefitted the American Heart Association.


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