An evening at the Life Ball: Vienna’s Most Spectacular Party

Last month, Team Coco got to live out our princess dreams by attending the truly outrageous annual Life Ball in Vienna. The Life Ball is one of the biggest social events in Vienna’s bustling cultural calendar and takes place each year amidst the breathtaking gothic architecture of the Weiner Rathaus.

Organised by AIDS LIFE, the Vienna Life Ball has been actively raising awareness about HIV and AIDS since 1993. Founded by Gery Kessler and Torgom Petrosian, the Life Ball has become one of the world’s most important AIDS Charity Events and donates its seven-digit proceeds to a number of aids projects all around the world. As Austria’s biggest fundraiser for HIV/AIDS, the Life Ball attracts a flurry of celebrities to its worthy cause each and every year. Some note-worthy appearances this year were Caitlin Jenner, Paris Jackson, Patty LaBelle, and Adrian Brody who all wore the Life+Patch kicking off a year round campaign encouraging everyone to get tested.

To say that the Life Ball was a bit eclectic is probably the biggest understatement of the year. This year’s theme was a strange yet beautiful homage to the Sound of Music, and the Life Ball transformed the breathtaking facade of the Weiner Rathaus into an awe-inspiring Sound of Music Landscape. A set that captured the Alpine beauty of the Salzburg countryside. A bearded Conchita Wurst played the role of Maria Von Trapp, kicking off a wonderfully bonkers show, that was part broadway musical, part anarchic parade, and part red carpet wedding fashion show. All this culminated with AMFAR’S Epic Ride, which brought actors Adrian Brody, Michiel Huisman, Ian Bohen, and Gilles Marini (to name a few) from Zurich to Vienna on classic motorcycles; representing the epic journey that Life+ has fought against HIV AIDS in the last twenty-five years.

To top it all off, Vienna’s local attendees definitely did not disappoint not the style department. A parade of feathered Lederhosen and Dirndl inspired looks, majestic gravity-defying ballgowns, and leather clad attendees all presented a spirit of love, tolerance and acceptance. Once the party really got started after midnight, there was no telling the difference between Hollywood celebrities, and enthusiastic costumed locals with a penchant for DIY. Gay, straight, old, young, Lederhosen or Dirndl – everyone was welcome to celebrate Vienna’s most spectacular evening. After all, the Life Ball is all about fighting the stigma against AIDS so intolerance and discrimination were not welcome to the festivities. And once all the revelries had concluded, and attendees stumbled back to their hotels, (at 5.a.m, probably – who even knows) we can rest assured that we probably witnessed the craziest party of our lives, and hey! It was also for a truly worthy cause.

Hannah Tan-Gillies attended the Vienna Life Ball, in support of HIV AIDS charities held every year in Austria’s capital at the Vienna City Hall; 2019 Life Ball will be end May/beginning June.  Tickets for 2019 go on sale early 2019 (www.lifeplus.org/tickets/en) Example prices from 2018 are: €90 – discount for guests in flamboyant costume, guidelines provided; €180 – elegant/themed costume; €559 – international package including flights, accommodation and entry. 

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Hannah Lynn Tan

Hannah has been working in the fashion industry for over five years. A mainstay at London Fashion Week, Hannah not only has heaps of insider fashion knowledge, but a genuine understanding of the essentials of style

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