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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 06:36 GMT 07:36 UK
007 star licensed to kilt in NY
Sean Connery and wife on stage
Sir Sean with his wife on stage at the Tartan Week event
Tartan took to the catwalk in New York in front of stars of stage, screen and sport in a celebration of Scotland's national dress.

Sir Sean Connery was the main attraction at this year's Dressed to Kilt event as part of Tartan Week.

The invited audience of US and Scottish "movers and shakers" were treated to an array of tartan fashions.

They were also given a glimpse of Sir Sean's new 3m animated feature film, Sir Billi the Vet.

Sir Sean shared the stage at one point with Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell.

Relations between the former James Bond actor, who champions independence for Scotland, and Mr McConnell are reported to be strained but they shook hands briefly before watching the fashion show.

Sir Sean joked to the guests: "I am very happy to be back in New York and I must say that people here have been almost overly friendly," in a reference to the city's image of surliness.

The first minister sports his kilt with Lochcarron's Tara Gibson

The first minister was hoping to shrug off the memories of the criticism he took over the kilt he wore at the Dressed to Kilt event in 2004 when the image of him wearing a pin-striped black kilt and ghillie shirt was roundly mocked by fashion experts.

This year he wore a more traditional tartan along with a charcoal grey two-button Argyle jacket designed by Galashiels-based Lochcarron.

He said: "I'm very proud to once again be showing off the kilts of one of Scotland's finest companies here in New York.

"Scotland's designers are increasingly making a big impact internationally and the Dressed to Kilt fashion show gives a special opportunity to show off their work.

"As first minister I'm always proud to play my part."

'Great ambassador'

Also present was American millionaire Donald Trump, who presented Sir Sean with the first honorary membership of his proposed new golf course at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Trump said of the actor: "He is a great ambassador for Scotland and a great man."

Mr Trump is half-Scottish and is keen to cement his Scottish roots by building the golf and leisure development, which he hopes will one day host The Open.

Scotland rugby player Chris Cusiter
Scotland rugby player Chris Cusiter was among the models

Scottish golf star Sam Torrance was among those who stepped out on the catwalk.

He was joined by Scotland rugby player Chris Cusiter, who played in the Calcutta Cup winning team which defeated England at Murrayfield during the Six Nations Championship.

He confessed to being nervous but declared: "I think it's fantastic to see so many Scottish people here.

"I was sitting in a restaurant across the road and two women decided to buy me a beer because of my kilt.

"I play rugby but this is a very different event. There are a few good-looking male models through there - I'm out of my depth."

Proceeds from the night go to Friends of Scotland, a charity dedicated to advancing Scottish interests and meeting contemporary Scottish needs in the US.

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