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Flowers, fairies and fashion at the 2014 Life Ball

By Anita Matkovic

Visitors to the 22nd Vienna Life Ball turned the evening into a sea of flowers, fairies, and other fairytale creatures, in the name of this year's theme "Garden of Earthly delights" which took place on Saturday, May 31st in Vienna's City Hall.

The fashion show element of the event, which was organised completely by Chief-Editor of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani, with the help from designers Givenchy, Viktor & Rolf, Lanvin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Etro and Dsquared2, was a first ever men's only fashion show, aiming to put men in the spotlight where women normally stand.

Presenting a mixture of tuxedos and other menswear pieces, the show started with decorated models dressed as feathered dark creatures surrounding the catwalk. Others that joined them range from those kitted out in dark tuxedos and bird like face masks, to male models wearing tie-less suits in geisha-like make-up and flowers in their hair accompanied by women dressed in geisha outfits. Oriental style turbans worn as headgear over dark cloaks and ponchos were also presented, at which point Courtney Love made an appearance on the catwalk, wearing a black satin gown with a sweetheart front.

After Conchita Wurst's big finale of the opening ceremony the guests proceeded into the City Hall where the dancing and partying began with yet another performance by the Eurovision Song Contest winner to mark the official opening of the party inside. After her performance, the DJ line-up started.

The inside of the city hall was turned into a garden of delights, where many guests took part in dressing up as different creatures from all sides of the themed fairy tale land, truly bringing the motto "Love is a bloom growing anywhere" to life.

Most guests took the mandatory dress code seriously, making the inside of city hall a fashion show in itself. Those who did not stick to the dress code, risked being escorted out by the style police.

The Life Ball always makes an effort to highlight the fashion aspect of it, but aside from that we cannot forget to acknowledge the real reason behind the ball. The aim of the ball is to raise awareness for AIDS along with raising money in support of those living with HIV or AIDS and spreading the ideas of freedom, equality and acceptance of all genders.

A quarter of the revenue from the Life Ball and the surrounding events that took place this year will go to local organisers, the remaining three quarters are donated to international projects such as the "Clinton Health Access Initiative" (CHAI), "The Foundation for AIDS Research" (amfAR) or the "Elton John Aids Foundation" (EJAF).

Taking the stage during the opening ceremony, CHAI-founder and Former President of the United States Bill Clinton said: "I thank you for this great work."

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