Iman and Christy Turlington’s Fashion Week Mission

Sep 8, 2011 11:43am
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Christy Turlington, left, and Iman, wearing the Modelina BFF Bracelet to benefit Save the Children.

Iman and Christy Turlington defined late ’80s, early ’90s glamour. Calvin Klein. Vogue. Versace. Runway after runway.

But for them, this New York Fashion Week, which starts today, is less about the clothes and more about a cause.

“We used to joke for years and years that fashion week in New York is like the United Nations summit of models,” Iman told ABCNews.com at the launch of the Modelinia BFF Bracelet Wednesday. Proceeds of the $35 bracelet go to Save the Children’s efforts to treat malnourishment in Somalia and East Africa.

“My immediate concern is about the famine and trying to alleviate that,” said Iman, who was born in Somalia. “In the long term we’re hoping that maybe an interim government in Somalia is established. So there is law and order, so there will be a government, so there will be schools. That is really my hope for Somalia.”

The 56-year-old model (she looks maybe half that age) roped in a handful of professional posers to help promote the bracelet, including Karlie Kloss, Coco Rocha, Doutzen Kroes and Turlington. The former face of Maybelline isn’t walking in any shows this season.

“To be honest, I spend most of my time doing this kind of work,” Turlington told ABCNews.com. “I’ve traveled a lot to sub-Saharan Africa. This is a region I know fairly well. This touched me especially because of the footage of so many mothers who are either pregnant or trying to nurse their children or trying to feed their children is devastating. I’m a mom of two and watching anything remotely like that … it’s like my biggest fear to not be able to feed or give my children what they need.”

Turlington, 42, made a documentary about at-risk pregnant women, “No Woman, No Cry,” that aired on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN in May. Like Iman, who serves as the spokeswoman for Keep a Child Alive, Turlington has more than one project (she’s an ambassador for the HIV charity (RED) and is pursuing a degree in public health at Columbia University). There’s little time for industry schmoozing.

She said she’s seeing maybe one fashion show in the coming week. But though her runway days may be behind her, she still relies on the fashion community.

“I think if I didn’t have my career, I wouldn’t have as many relationships to call on when I need help and support,” she said. “And again, that’s just the way our world works in terms of the media and people’s attention span.  To me, whatever works in a positive way, I think you’ve got to use what you’ve got.”

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