Military Women Replaced Models At NYFW

454569738Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Little Black Dress Wines.
Models and celebrities typically dominate attention at any fashion show (that is, attention that isn't focused on the collections themselves). But, there was a newbie in the Lincoln Center spotlight earlier this week. And, she's much more badass than even the most recognizable show-closer.
More than a dozen military women were honored at a show sponsored by Little Black Dress Wines and Fatigues to Fabulous, a program aiming to help female veterans readjust to their daily lives post-service. Not only did the deserving ladies get the full model treatment (hair, makeup, beautiful LBDs donated by American designers such as DKNY and Calvin Klein, and catwalk advice from Hilary Rhoda) — they also took to the runway to strut their stuff.
The women in service represented a range of sizes, ethnicities, and ages — a level of diversity that many runways lack. And, with all the exhilarating (sometimes exhausting) spectacle of NYFW, they also helped us take a moment to recognize the true, transformative and celebratory power of clothes — all while paying tribute to incredible women who fought for our country. This inspiring photo of retired Army Captain Leslie Nicole Smith, who lost her left leg and eyesight while serving in Bosnia, sums up the spirit of the event and reminds us how empowering fashion (yes, even Fashion Week) can be. Click over to read some of these women's moving backstories and see more pics of NYFW's bravest models. (WWD)

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