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NEW YORK (AP) -- The Heart Truth fashion show with its parade of celebrities in red frocks is the industry's Valentine to the public, Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" said as he officially kicked off New York Fashion Week Friday morning.

Katie Couric, Patricia Arquette, Hilary Duff and Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin were among the "models," who donned dresses by the likes of Carmen Marc Valvo, Nicole Miller, Donna Karan and Max Azria to help raise awareness about heart disease. It's become a tradition to open Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's fall-collection previews with this collaborative, charitable effort.

Jane Kaczmarek, wearing a strapless, fan-top gown by Rafael Cennamo was a first-time catwalker. She told the AP ahead of the show that her biggest concern was tripping.

She did fine, though, collecting cheers and applause, and she scored a coup for her charity Clothes Off Our Back, which auctions clothes worn by celebrities to raise money for children's causes.

Former "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter, in a one-shoulder Caroline Herrera gown, was another crowd favorite as were Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling of "Beverly Hills, 90210," who shot down the runway one after another. Garth was in a flowing Badgley Mischka gown with peek-a-boo white beaded straps and Spelling wore a flirty strapless dress by Betsey Johnson with a black-sash waist and tiers of pleats.

Several top-tier athletes showed off their toned figures: Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard wore a bikini-top gown by Cushnie et Ochs, and skater Kristi Yamaguchi was in a deep-red satin gown by Vera Wang with rosettes on one shoulder.

From his front-row seat, Mark Indelicato, the youngest star of TV's "Ugly Betty," said he thought all the celebrities were an effective way to draw attention to heart disease, but he wasn't quite convinced to switch his wardrobe to red.

"I have a stripe on my sweater and I'm wearing my Red Dress pin, but I'm not really partial to red," he said.