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The stars were out Thursday night, not only to enjoy celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck‘s mouth-watering dishes, but to celebrate an important cause as Puck, his wife, Gelila Puck, and Amber Valetta hosted Hollywood A-listers at Spago Beverly Hills. Guests, including Quincy Jones, Rachel Zoe, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, gathered to honor Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani at the inaugural Dream for Future Africa Foundation gala.
Valetta praised Sozzani for her lasting contributions in the fashion world. Sozzani broke couture boundaries as the first to highlight African models on the cover of Vogue Italia, beginning with her historic July 2000 Black issue. Since then, her efforts have sparked a booming business for the garment industry in Africa, and elite designers have followed suit, incorporating the continent’s materials and designs.
“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.”
Founded by Gelila Puck in 1998, the Dream for Future Africa Foundation helps to bring economic sustainability to families living in Africa. The students the foundation started working with in 1998 have now graduated high school and will be taking courses of various disciplines at the vocational training center in Ethiopia, which recently opened in September.
Gelila graced the red carpet with Sozzani, proud to see the foundation grow into what she calls her “big baby,” as she celebrated with longtime friends, including Smokey Robinson and his wife.
“I was born and raised in Ethiopia,” said Gelila. “I’m a mother of two boys. One day, when they grow, I’m hoping the dream I have will be that Africa will be all educated and free of poverty.”
Per Gelila’s request, Puck ditched his traditional chef’s attire for a suit and tie to support his wife. He could not be more happy for his love, whom he said has raised enough money for the vocational training school to operate for the next two years.
“I’m so proud of her because she put this event together by herself,” he said. “We had her birthday yesterday, and we didn’t celebrate it yet. She barely saw the kids [because] she was working so hard.”
When asked to name one of his favorite meals, Puck revealed one of his favorite desserts on the menu for the night.
“Tonight we have white truffles, and I love white truffles with some good red wine,” he said. “It’s special.”
Inside the restaurant, model Karolina Kurkova stopped to chat with Jones, who was seated next to Michael and Eva Chow. Newly engaged couple West and Kardashian were all smiles, hanging out with the event hosts as Sozzani’s son Francesco Carrozzini snapped photos. Music legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson shared a booth where they caught up over cocktails.
Artists Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Vittorio Grigolo serenaded the audience to end the night.
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