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Sparks Fly at Life Ball 2012: “Fighting the Flames of Ignorance”

As the world’s beautiful things descended with Promethean grace upon the red – or rather, magenta – carpet for the 20th Annual Life Ball AIDS charity gala, there really was nothing that could dampen the life-affirming energy and extravagance on show. And with the likes of Antonio Banderas, Naomi Campbell, Milla Jovovich and Bill Clinton making an appearance, this party’s star is burning brighter than ever before.

Life Ball 2012
© photopaten, Tina Gerstenberg

For the past 12 years, MINI has made a very special contribution to the fanfare in the form of a custom one-off car that is auctioned off for charity. Each one is stylized by a famous designer, and for 2012 the new MINI Roadster got a sleek makeover at the hands of fashion world matriarch and honorable Italian spitfire Franca Sozzani.

In keeping with the regal attire of this modern Viennese ball, the MINI Roadster was dressed to the nines. True to her style, Sozzani concluded the best way to find inspiration for designing a car was to personify it. “I thought of MINI as a beautiful woman who put on an elegant floral scarf when she drives a MINI Roadster,” she explained.

Life Ball 2012
© photopaten, Tina Gerstenberg
Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (10 images)

And elegant it is. Dipped in a luxuriously rich layer of Deepest Purple in a matte finish, the base tone of this ride can’t help but be admired. Rally stripes and mirror caps pop in metallic gold, and a fanciful floral pattern laces the cloth roof and selected highlights on the body. A full leather interior that’s also marked by floral designs and the Sozzani signature emblazoned on the seats makes the one-off design a complete knockout.

“In Franca Sozzani we have found an experienced fashion expert who devotes her artistic prowess primarily to colour. We are now thrilled to be able to bring this joint project to fruition,” says Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.

Franca Sozzani, Gery Keszler, Milla Jovovich, Antonio Banderas
© photopaten, Tina Gerstenberg

But there’s more to Life Ball than a glittering facade. The fundraiser, organized by HIV/AIDS charity AIDS LIFE, has come far since its inception in 1993, but it knows there’s a long road ahead. As the event reached its third decade, Life Ball Founder Gery Keszler and notable speakers gathered on the morning of Life Ball to take stock of their mission, and embraced the improvement in cultural preconceptions of AIDS sufferers. “Today, the Life Ball has to fulfill different tasks. It is not a time for pure provocation any more,” Keszler observed.  “Life Ball is all about solidarity,” Milla Jovovich claimed. Franca noted the unique spirit inspired by the event and impressive community. “It’s about the strength of the joy of someone who really believes in what they are doing.”

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (19 images)

Hints of the fire-themed party tricks to come were dropped by Keszler during the press conference, but nothing could have prepared us properly for the bombastic displays of zealous revelry and fanfare at Vienna’s majestic City Hall later in the evening. Throngs gathered here to join in the celebrations. At the heart of it all was the iconic Magenta Carpet, lavishly adorned with six grand pianos, glittering lights, and a river of coiffed and costumed divas, darlings, and dignitaries that set the stage aflame. From ballet performances to Viennese waltzes, to a full-on foam party, this was not the place for conservatism. Incredible live performances by The Scissor Sisters, Cheyenne Jackson, and Gloria Estefan set the tone, and a stunningly surreal fashion show hosted by Vogue Italia left us breathless.

Life Ball 2012 brilliantly communicated the very real challenges of fighting AIDS and social stigma, and did so creatively through this truly stunning jubilee. If you’d like to donate to some good causes, just check out the links below to help make a difference now. Together, we can beat this thing. And that’s something worth celebrating.

Related Links:

Life Ball
Operation Bobbi Bear
The Clinton Foundation
VOGUE Italia
Live Ball 2012 Intro


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Comments (5)

Artist durkART

posted by Artist durkART | 06/13/2012 01:43 pm

Jag appreciateALL verkligen att ni gör för att främja jämställdhet mellan dessa oroande tider. Och jag uppskattar verkligen ert stöd för HIV + stöd som Mini har gett genom åren. Det är sant har läkemedel framkommit att förlänga livet för de drabbade, men flera har inte råd med dyra läkare vården och inte heller läkemedel att förlänga deras liv. Jag vet, jag är i frontlinjen för kampen. Min önskan att alla drabbade av HIV "Fortsätt att drömma - det finns en morgondag" och för alla som har förlorat slaget en högtidlig reflektion på alla gemensamma goda tider. Stolt Mini ägare i över 7 år!

Artist durkART

posted by Artist durkART | 06/13/2012 01:41 pm

Eu appreciateALL VERDADEIRAMENTE que você faz para promover a igualdade para estes tempos trabalhosos. E eu realmente aprecio seu apoio para o apoio HIV + Mini que tem dado ao longo dos anos. É verdade, as drogas surgiram para prolongar a vida das pessoas afectadas, mas vários não podem pagar os cuidados médicos caros e nem drogas para prolongar suas vidas. Eu sei, eu estou na linha de frente da batalha. Meu desejo de que todos os afetados pelo HIV "continuar a sonhar - Há um amanhã", e por tudo o que perdeu a batalha uma reflexão solene em todos os bons momentos compartilhados. Mini proprietário orgulhoso por mais de 7 anos!

Artist durkART

posted by Artist durkART | 06/13/2012 01:40 pm

J'ai vraiment appreciateALL que vous faites pour promouvoir l'égalité pour ces temps difficiles. Et j'apprécie vraiment votre soutien pour le soutien que le VIH + Mini a donné au fil des ans. Il est vrai que les médicaments ont vu le jour pour prolonger la vie des personnes touchées, mais plusieurs ne peuvent pas payer les soins coûteux médecins, ni médicaments pour prolonger leur vie. Je sais, je suis sur la ligne de front de la bataille. Mon souhait que toutes les personnes touchées par le VIH "continuer à rêver - il ya un demain» et pour tout ce qui a perdu la bataille une réflexion solennelle sur tous les bons moments partagés. Fier propriétaire Mini depuis plus de 7 ans!

Artist durkART

posted by Artist durkART | 06/13/2012 01:39 pm

I Wirklich appreciateALL, dass Sie für die Gleichstellung für diese schwere Zeiten fördern zu tun. Und ich wirklich zu schätzen Ihre Unterstützung für die HIV + Support, den Mini im Laufe der Jahre gegeben. Richtig ist, dass Drogen entstanden, um das Leben für die Betroffenen zu verlängern, aber einige nicht leisten können, die kostspielige Pflege Ärzte noch Medikamente, um ihr Leben zu verlängern. Ich weiß, ich bin an der Frontlinie der Schlacht. Ich wünsche mir, dass jeder mit HIV betroffen "Continue to Dream - Es gibt ein Morgen" und für alle, die die Schlacht verloren einen feierlichen Nachdenken über all die guten Zeiten geteilt. Stolzer Besitzer Mini seit über 7 Jahren!

Artist durkART

posted by Artist durkART | 06/12/2012 11:15 pm

I TRULY appreciateALL that you do to promote equality for these troubling times. And I TRULY appreciate your support for the HIV+ support that Mini has given throughout the years. True, drugs have emerged to prolong life for those affected, but several cannot afford the costly doctors care nor drugs to prolong their lives. I know, I'm on the frontline of the battle. My wish that everyone affected with HIV "Continue to Dream - There IS a tomorrow" and for all that lost the battle a solemn reflection on ALL the good times shared. Proud Mini owner for over 7 years!!

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