The Heart Truth campaign launched an exciting initiative—The Red Dress Project—at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which took place in New York, February 7-14, 2003.

On February 14, 2003, First Lady Laura Bush visited the Red Dress Project display and appeared on Good Morning America, Today, and The Early Show to promote awareness of women and heart disease. During her interviews, the First Lady encouraged all women to learn their personal risks for heart disease, and take action to lower those risks.

On February 21, 2003, in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson presented "The Red Dress Project." The Project, a collection of 19 red dresses from America's most prestigious designers and a specially designed Red Dress Pin, is the centerpiece of a national campaign—The Heart Truth. The designers included Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Luca Luca, Oscar de la Renta, Nicole Miller, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Carmen Marc Valvo, Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Chaiken, Vivienne Tam, Anne Klein, Catherine Malandrino, Marc Jacobs and Badgley Mischka. The red dress, first introduced in New York at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, serves as the national symbol of women and heart disease awareness with the message that "heart disease doesn't care what you wear." At the press conference, Secretary Thompson also proclaimed the third Friday in February as Women's Heart Day.

The Red Dress Project launches the red dress icon to raise awareness of heart disease as a women's issue. Cover Girl Angela Lindvall, one of the most recognized models in today's fashion industry, is the spokesmodel for the Red Dress Project. She appears in a public service advertisement for The Heart Truth campaign wearing a red dress designed by Donna Karan.

Leading fashion designers contributed red dresses from either vintage or current collections and showcased them in the Red Dress Collection throughout Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.