– Wolfgang Puck And His Wife, Gelila , Honor Vogue Italia Editor-In-Chief Franca Sozzani At Inaugural Dream For Future Africa Foundation’s 2013 Gala –
On October 24th, Hollywood A-listers and the crème de la crème of fashion congregated at Wolfgang Puck’s flagship fine dining restaurant, Spago, in Beverly Hills, to honor Vogue Italia Editor-In-Chief Franca Sozzani, at the inaugural Dream for Future Africa Foundation Gala. Sozzani made headlines in July 2008 when she challenged the impenetrable narrative of the fashion industry by daring to use African models on the cover of Vogue Italia. Since then she’s consistently pushed the envelope by bending the rules about whom can do haute couture fashion while her contemporaries remained stagnant. Her efforts over the past five years have opened a door into the unique world of African fabrics and garments, revitalizing the industry which now commands approximately a billion dollars in business. Because her steady commitment to fashion, faces, and crafts of Africa, she was recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.
“Gelila Assefa Puck is an internationally-known fashion designer, and an award-winning international philanthropist who was born and schooled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more than a decade, Ms. Puck has been active in supporting women’s global health initiatives and the advancement of orphaned children in Africa.” Founded in 2010, her Dream For Future Africa Foundation (DFFAF) is targeted at supporting opportunities and education in Africa. In 2011, the foundation secured a $500,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation to build the Gelila Assefa Puck Vocational Center in Aleltu, Ethiopia. The center was opened this past September and relies on the monies raised from events such as these for operating costs.
Besides Woldgang Puck’s tasty meals, the 2013 Dream for Future Africa Foundation Inaugural Gala included cocktails, a live auction led by Simon de Pury, and performances by Vittorio Grigolo and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. In attendance were Quincy Jones, Eva & Michael Chow, Chord Overstreet, Rachel Zoe, Dita Von Teese, Karolina Kurkova, Joe Jonas, Alex Pettyfer, Karolina Kurkova, Smokey Robinson, Ali Larter, Amy Smart, Erika Christensen, Angela Lindvall, Maria Sharapova, Doug Aitken, Devon Aoki, Nikolai Von Bismarck, Francesco Carrozzini, Simon and Michaela De Pury, Ben Silverman, Liz Goldwyn, Shiva Rose, Katherine Ross, D.A. Wallach, and newly engaged Kanye West and Kim Kardashian to name a few. With all these Hollywood elite in the building no wonder the night was a success; the foundation raised a million dollars which will go towards helping fund a vocational training center in Ethiopia that the foundation opened last month.
Gala co-host, supermodel and actress, Amber Valletta shared a little anecdote while thanking Sozzani for all her hard work. “I doubt Franca knows this, but my first modeling job was with Italian Vogue…I don’t think people realize how important she is in fashion and what kind of impact she’s had on pop culture and just art and photography,” said Valetta. “She has really influenced so much. And she’s so quiet and humble that you wouldn’t know that, but she really has. That magazine is everybody’s inspiration.” A beaming Sozzani summed up the evening, “We are so lucky we can really give back.”
Dream For Future Africa Foundation is a U.S classified 501(c) 3 organization. http://dffaf.org