vienna’s legendary life ball supports aids research… and lingerie models.

by helen armide

This weekend, NYLON travel bunny Helen Armide hopped a private jet to Vienna to visit The Life Ball, a giant annual fundraiser and fashion show for AIDS research. This year, the Ball's partner was Agent Provocateur, and guests included Debbie Harry, Linda Evangelista, Lily Cole, Kim Catrall, and a lot of naked models (except for some glitter).  This is her story...

Chapter One:  Party Primer

I am jetting to Vienna.

Known for:  Mozart, Mahler, Wiener schnitzel, Apfelstrudel, the Danube river, Swarovski crystals, Klimt, angelic choirboys and lavish concert halls, Franz Ferdinand (the Archduke, not the band), Freud, and the Govinator himself, (couldn't resist...) Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Austria's capital stands Europe's grand host of decadent balls, typically in the nineteenth century tradition (Read: White coat & tails, opulent masquerades and operatic serenades). Any and every Viennese ball- there are over 200 important ones each year- are all night affairs, beginning at dusk and joyously continuing well into dawn.

I am going to the Life Ball:

Since its inception in 1993, Life Ball is Europe's largest AIDS charity event, organized by AIDS Life.  Hosted by Vienna's mayor, Michael Haupl, the party stands as the only AIDS charity event to take place in a political building.

An annual outdoor fashion show has always preceeded the ball inside the historic hall, drawing participation from designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood, Donatella Versace and Heatherette in 2007, and devoted attention from Austria's denizens.

2008's Theme: Outer Space

Commanding the catwalk: Agent Provocateur

At a cocktail party the evening before Saturday's main event, Eve arrived and smilingly said that she was “honored to be involved with a charity of such an international scale”, adding that she would like to offer messages of support to younger women and girls in particular, saying that “safe sex does not have to be boring."

Want proof?  Flick through these photos, then follow further Life Ball adventures in the

NYLON Blog...