New York Fashion Week: Breast cancer survivors hit the catwalk

Media caption,
Breast cancer survivors claim the catwalk in lingerie

Women who survived breast cancer took over the catwalk at New York Fashion Week in an alternative lingerie show to raise funds for charity.

The AnaOno Intimates show was devised by US designer, and breast cancer survivor, Dana Donofree, and introduced by Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino.

Models with different shapes and stories proudly bared signs of surgery.

Nearly half of the models had metastatic, or advanced, breast cancer, according to Ms Donofree.

All proceeds went to Cancerland, an outreach and advocacy charity in the US.

Warning: This article contains images of partial nudity

"I felt sexy, I felt beautiful, and I was proud," Paige Moore, 24, said after taking part in the show.

Five weeks ago, she had preventative double mastectomy after genetic testing.

"I was like these scars are sexy and awesome, and I am here, I am alive and I feel good. That is all that matters," she said.

In the US and the UK, cancer researchers say one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Actress Mira Sorvino, Cancerland founder Champagne Joy and designer Dana Donofree on stage
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Almost half the models in the New York fashion show had battled advanced breast cancer

"It is a very important moment for them [the models] to get out there and experience something like this because breast cancer has taken over their bodies," Ms Donofree told Reuters.

Ms Donofree also had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with the disease, aged 27.

She started designing underwear for others who have undergone breast surgery after realising that traditional garments no longer fitted.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Model Ericka Hart had a double mastectomy
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The show took place in lower Manhattan, New York City
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Women wore all sorts of underwear

Ms Donofree wrote about her story and the inspiration for the show on her website.

"As I slowly rebuilt my own self-esteem and confidence, first by getting a mastectomy tattoo, then by talking to other women about life after acute treatment, and finally trying on my first bra prototype, I wondered why none of this was part of some greater 'What to Expect When You're Expecting a Mastectomy' pamphlet they handed out at your surgeon's office."

"Whether I have nipples or breasts or not, I am a woman," said model Chiaro D'Agostino, a New Jersey teacher and blogger.