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Formula One and fashion unite for charity in Monaco 23 May 2009

Drivers wives, girlfriends and family at the Amber fashion show.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Friday, 22 May 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren at the Amber fashion show.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Friday, 22 May 2009 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing at the Amber fashion show.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Friday, 22 May 2009 Escala play at the Amber fashion show.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Friday, 22 May 2009

Formula One racing and fashion came together on Friday evening in Monte Carlo at the glittering Amber Fashion event to raise funds for the Elton John Aids Foundation. For the second time - after her debut at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix - Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One Management CEO Bernie, unveiled the new collection from her top-end menswear range FORM, an F1-inspired fashion line.

And again the models were none other than seven current Formula One drivers and one recently retired: reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, this year’s leader Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi, catwalk newcomer Sebastian Vettel and F1 veteran David Coulthard.

Of course, if you have such a sophisticated line-up of models, the guests sitting in the audience have to match. And they did. HSH Prince Albert of Monaco was joined by a host of celebrities from sport, business and fashion: Bernie Ecclestone as proud father of the designer, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of Global Advertising Group WPP, Sir Richard Branson, legendary sprinter Michael Johnson, Elisabeth Hurley and her husband Arun Nayar to name just a few.

Back to the drivers on the catwalk and for seven of them it was their second time ‘on show’, so the nerves were kept in check. A cool-headed Mark Webber commented: “Last year my knees were shaking a bit, but now it’s all routine! Could the catwalk be a career for me? No. So far €’ve never been a fashion junkie, but you never know - never say never! And to be frank, it’s all a question of money. € could become a model for the right deal. Jeans and shirts - that would be me. What € would never do is bikinis!”

Sebastian Vettel, the fashion debutant: “€t’s my first time so please be patient with me. € feel that the profile of my shoes do not have enough grip. Feels like running on slicks! And don’t say anything about my hairstyle tonight. €t is not the latest wind tunnel model from Adrian (Newey) - it was just an accident after the shower!”

A ‘business-as-usual’ Jenson Button: “Whatever you might think, a modelling career was definitely never my ‘plan B’! € do this here because it is a fun event and it is for a good cause. Hopefully the guests will put their hands in their pockets and get some money out this evening. For us drivers it’s a nice break to do something different. But never forget we drivers are no models! But we do the best we can!”

That brings us to the fund raising. David Furnish, partner of Sir Elton John, presented the evening’s charity auction, which once again featured unique ‘money can’t buy’ lots.

The Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay Luxury Experience was sold to Bernie Ecclestone, who immediately re-donated it to the auction where it immediately sold again for a higher price. A unique print of footballer Thierry Henry by Anderson & Low was auctioned off to David Furnish. The Grey Goose Electric Oasis Cocktail Bar found a new home in the Monaco Palace, where Prince Albert will mix drinks for his guests. Another lucky bidder took home an original hand-signed etching by Henri Matisse. And the ultimate lot? Surely a dinner for ten with Sir Elton John in his house in Nice.

€t was an evening to remember, not least due to the professional presenting skills of Tamara Ecclestone, Petra’s sister. The face of Moussaieff, she wore a gorgeous necklace by the exclusive jewellers. No wonder it was a proud Bernie Ecclestone who left the venue, having seen both his daughters being the stars of the night.