Dream for Future Africa Gala

Dream For Future Africa Foundation Inaugural Gala Honoring Franca Sozzani Of VOGUE Italia
Amber Valletta, Gelila Assefa Puck and Wolfgang Puck Honor Franca Sozzani at the Dream for Future Africa Gala

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Among Others Present 


Here are 30+ photos and a few more thoughts about the Oct. 24 “Dream for Future Africa” Gala, which I wrote about for the Los Angeles Times here.

The super-glamorous event, hosted by Amber Valletta, Wolfgang Puck and Galila Assefa Puck, honored Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. Given such illustrious hosts, the fundraiser attracted models, actors, artists, business leaders and none other than newly engaged Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Kim’s 15-carat cushion-cut rock. 

Just as in Paris, when I’d seen the pop culture duo at the fashion shows, Kardashian and West created a bigger stir and made bigger news than any of the other VIPs present. Although in Paris, there were so many photographers around them that no one else could get near, at this party the two couldn’t have been more approachable – Kardashian happily showed off her ring to all, as party-goers congratulated them on their engagement.

For me, it was a special treat to meet the top models I’d only before seen in magazines and on Paris runways. Among those present were Devon Aoki with James Bailey, Karolina Kurkova with Archie Drury, Angela Lindvall, Nina Senicar and Valletta. (Aoki had always been my favorite of Karl Lagerfeld’s brides in his Chanel haute couture shows.)

No doubt, this was a fun party. As we all settled down to dinner, the night’s emcee – musician D.A. Wallach – proposed as an icebreaker that guests introduce themselves to the person on their left and then kiss the person on their right. 

He assured guests they were in a “judgement free zone,” and then proceeded to introduce the Gala hosts, first the Pucks and then Valletta, who presented the award to Sozzani. 

Gelila Assefa Puck, who hails from Ethiopia, explained her interest in making an impact on Africa’s future. “I want you to know that helping Dream for Future Africa isn’t a cause I adopted. It’s a cause I was born into.”

In her remarks, Valletta said Vogue Italia gave her her first modeling job.

Sozzani said, “Giving back is the new luxury.”

Considering the Gala took place at Spago in Beverly Hills, not surprisingly a four-course ultra-gourmet dinner was on the agenda. There, too, were performances by Kenny Babyface Edmonds and Victorio Grigolo with musical director Walter Aranasieff.  

More guests were Ted Sarandos of Netflix and former ambassador Nicole Avant; Colleen and Bradley Bell; Michaela and Simon de Pury; Eva and Michael Chow; Joe Jonas and Blanda Eggenschwiler; Cio Soler and Maurice Marciano; Mareva Georges and Paul Marciano; Rachel Zoe, Liz Goldwyn, Ben Silverman, Suzanne de Passe, Shiva Rose, Eugene Sadovoy and Liz Brinson.

Among others were music legends Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones and Smokey Robinson; burlesque queen Dita Von Teese; tennis great Maria Sharapova; designer Rachel Roy; artists Doug Aitken and Mark Bradford; photographers Francesco Carrozzini and Nikolai von Bismarck; and actors Chord Overstreet, Amy Smart, Holly Robinson Peete, Alex Pettyfer, Ali Larter, Talulah Riley, Hayes MacArthur, Gabriella Wright, Madison Walls and Erika Christensen.

Thanks to ticket sales of $2,500 and up, tables on offer for $50,000 to $500,000, and an art auction, more than $1 million went to help build vocational centers in Africa. 


Top photo: From left, host Gelila Assefa Puck and honoree Franca Sozzani with guests Kanye West and Kim Kardashian at the Dream for Future Africa Gala at Spago in Beverly Hills (photo, Michael Buckner/ WireImage) 

Second photo: Liz Brinson of swirlgirlarmy.com and the night’s emcee, D.A. Wallach at the Dream for Future Africa Gala at Spago in Beverly Hills (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)

Third photo: Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, and Nicole Avant, former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas, at the Dream for Future Africa Gala at Spago in Beverly Hills (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)

Fourth photo: Supermodel Devon Aoki and James Bailey. Aoki had been my all-time favorite bride in Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel haute couture shows in Paris. (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)

Fifth photo: The 5’11” Karolina Kurkova kindly ducked down for this shot with me (Ellen Olivier, this website’s author) at the Dream for Future Africa Gala at Spago in Beverly Hills. (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)

Sixth photo: Joe Jonas and the beautiful Blanda Eggenschwiler at the Dream for Future Africa Gala at Spago in Beverly Hills  (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/ WireImage)



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Dream for Future Africa Gala

Published Oct. 26, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News L.A.