Christy Turlington Burns is back on the runway. The supermodel made a surprising return to New York Fashion Week last Friday by closing the Ralph Lauren spring 2024 show, something the Every Mother Counts founder called “fun.”

“I felt very relaxed and calm going in. I don’t have any regrets,” Turlington Burns told Vanity Fair at the Kering Foundation’s second annual Caring for Women Dinner in New York on Tuesday. “The dress is beautiful, and Ralph [Lauren] is a legend and a very unique icon in American fashion. So it was fun!”

After a hiatus from the catwalk—she participated in a Marc Jacobs show nearly five years ago and modeled for a few presentations with Fendi during COVID-19, which she described as “great because there’s no audience”—Turlington Burns agreed to return to the runway after Lauren reached out. The designer was making a New York Fashion Week homecoming as well, following a four-year, pandemic-era break that included a stint in Los Angeles last season.

“I started my career in New York, and I met Ralph in the early days. They all shared the same building—Ralph, Calvin [Klein], and Donna [Karan]—so I met Ralph in an elevator going up for a fitting to Calvin,” she said. “So I was asked, would I consider doing the show? And I was like, Hmm? I haven’t seen Ralph in a really long time. It’s in New York. I live downtown, and it was honestly, more than anything, an opportunity to see him after a long, long time. And then I saw the dress, and then I tried the dress on, and everything was like, this was meant to be.”

Back on the runway at age 54, Turlington Burns strutted down in a gold Grecian-inspired gown in front of Jennifer Lopez, Diane Keaton, Julianne Moore, Gabrielle Union, Amanda Seyfried, and Mindy Kaling. Even she can’t believe that she’s back on the runway, because these days Turlington Burns devotes her time to her two children and to improving maternal health through her charity, Every Mother Counts.

“It’s a surreal thing, honestly. I would say, generally, in this time and era in fashion, it’s such a different experience from what I did in the ’90s. My day-to-day life is so different from this world now compared to the last 20 years,” she said. “So to be back in it and to have the opportunity to reflect and compare, it’s a unique role to be in, and I’m appreciative to have that opportunity.”

The number of wardrobe changes is a major difference between modeling in the ’90s, when Turlington Burns reigned supreme with her fellow “supes” Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell, and modeling today.

“We used to wear 10 outfits per show. I was telling some of the young women behind the stage at the show that we used to do five shows for Ralph, and they did two shows now,” Turlington Burns said. “The venues have gotten bigger, the outfits are less, and it is so much less stressful, honestly. You don’t have to change in between, and you’re not getting thrown back onto the stage. I mean, it’s very different, but I’m kind of glad that I got to see both sides. I’m sure it will continue to evolve.”

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