Fifteen women from the United States Army will participate in “Salute the Runway”, the show that will open New York Fashion Week on September 3.
The parade is part of a program developed in different military bases in the country to raise awareness of the difficulties women soldiers face in reintegrating into civilian life, from finding a house to dressing appropriately.
Professional models will advise the participants, who mostly have no experience on the catwalks. "I put on heels and I may look a little insecure, but I will strut to raise awareness [about this cause]," Maj. Chelinda Rivas of Fort Bliss in Texas told WWD. "I've never modeled before and go from boots to heels … I keep telling myself, 'Please don't fall off the runway.'"
Army veteran Letris Titus and Major Chelinda Rivas will parade on the 3rd in New York.
The models for one day, a combination of veterans and soldiers on active duty, belong to different areas of the army such as the navy, the air forces or the marine infantry, and they have different military ranks. All will wear variations of the “little black dress” designed by firms such as DKNY, Calvin Klein or Mara Hoffman.
PHOTO: Two women, one dress
Another participant is Nancy Schiliro, a former Marine who lost an eye in an explosion in Iraq. "I am a real boy, especially as a marine," he commented to the publication, "but if I can climb a barbed wire, I can walk in heels."
The show, to be held Wednesday at Lincoln Center, has been sponsored by the national Fatigues to Fabulous campaign, which supports women graduating from the military.