Fashion photographer Mario Testino and car manufacturer MINI have joined forces to raise funds for the charity Life Ball. A unique MINI featuring a stunning exterior designed by Testino was unveiled at Europe’s largest charity event in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the 15th Life Ball celebration in Vienna. An auction for the unique model opens today on eBay, and potential bidders have until 10 June to secure the car.

All proceeds raised by the Life Ball MINI auction will go to the charity, which was supported at this year’s event by Hollywood film stars including Sharon Stone and Adam Brody. On Saturday 26 May 2007, Mario Testino wowed the public by driving a MINI adorned with images of exploding fireworks through a crowd of 40,000 revellers gathered outside Vienna’s Hotel Imperial.

Testino commented on the car’s design: “I feel that fireworks are a celebration of life. By choosing the fireworks theme I wanted to convey a positive message as work against AIDS underlines that life is worth fighting for.”

MINI has auctioned a Life Ball car in each of the past five years for the charity. Global design greats have all made a remarkable contribution through their partnerships with MINI:

2006 MINI Convertible designed by Diesel £25,908

2005 MINI Convertible designed by Donatella Versace £81,618

2004 MINI Convertible designed by Ferré £20,413

2003 MINI Hatch designed by Missoni £22,454

2002 MINI featuring signatures of international stars Elton John,
No Angels, Heidi Klum, Emma Sjöberg and Mavie Hörbiger £8,862

MINI and Mario Testino hope the 2007 car will help them add to the £159,255 raised since the project’s conception. Testino concluded: “I am a great admirer of those people who dedicate their lives to other people and to charitable causes and I am thrilled to contribute to the success of the Life Ball.”