LIFE BALL Celebrates 25 years in Vienna, Austria

LIFE BALL Celebrates 25 years in Vienna, Austria

Reinterpreting the Viennese ball tradition, the Life Ball continues to raise awareness and encourage solidarity with the sick.

Reinterpreting the Viennese ball tradition, the Life Ball continues to raise awareness and encourage solidarity with the sick.

Text: Stella Pak

We lose track of time when life feels like we’re on fast-forward and we deny our own mortality. We’ve come a long way since the AIDS/HIV epidemic hit in the 80’s and 90’s where the grief, sadness and loss is captured in an analog moment shot by Nan Goldin. During that time, Gery Keszler founded Life+ when he had had enough. “If we lose another friend, we won’t be silent. And above all, no one should die alone.” 25 years later, Life+ has become a global network beyond the border of Austria with the simple yet daunting mission to end AIDS through awareness and strengthen solidarity. Aligned with UNAIDS to spread the 90-90-90 targets which starts with “Know Your Status," the campaign aims to test and treat to help apply the resources and destigmatize the disease and virus.

Life+ started in 1992 to educate Vienna, but as the program and partnerships grew internationally, Life+ has been able to help raise funds to reach global regions affected by AIDS such as the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. Paris Jackson, who is the brand ambassador, follows her Godmother’s footsteps as she raises awareness to the youth and helps raise funds for mobile health units that travel along the gulf coasts of Malawi to test and treat those with the disease. MAC Cosmetics has been one of the Foundation’s greatest supporters as proceeds of the Viva Glam lipsticks go straight to the MAC AIDS Fund with no deductions. And in case you didn’t know, Gery Keszler was also a makeup artist before he founded Life+ so it was fitting for MAC to ask him to create a look for summer – where he more fittingly created the look with 3 Viva Glam Lipsticks.

This year, MAC supported the Life Ball by donating 50 makeup artists who created looks for the stage performance of “The Sound of Music” held in front of Vienna’s city hall, Rathaus. An event that reinterprets Viennese tradition, the theme for the 25th anniversary Life Ball roots back to Austria, celebrating the dichotomy of beauty, darkness and the space we live in between. The outcome was an exploding flourish of Austrian opulence starring drag queen performer, Conchita and Herber Fottinger with features by Patti LaBelle and Rufus Wainwright. The ball was a star-studded event with guests from Adrian Brody, Olivier Theyskens, Kim Petras, Kelly Osbourne and Caitlyn Jenner spotted on the red carpet. A televised event of the year in Vienna, tickets to the party were available for purchase where people from all corners of the world were dressed head to toe in costume and on theme. Click the slideshow to check out images from the event.

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