Known for her trendsetting 50’s styles, Gelila Assefa’s fashion sense can be described as daring. She gives off a hint of uniqueness everywhere she goes with her eye-catching vintage collections. The Ethiopian fashion designer and philanthropist who is fearlessly proud of her heritage first grabbed public attention for always embodying African (mostly Ethiopian) appearance and fashioning her own personal distinctive style.
Apart from her exploits in the fashion industry, the charitable causes of the designer who owns an iconic African couture line and handbag line are also impeccable. Learn more about Felila Assefa, the woman after Wolfgang Puck’s heart.
Who Is Gelila Assefa, Why Is She Famous?
Though a successful fashion icon, Gelila hasn’t shared much of her personal details. Other than the fact that she was born in Addis Ababa in early 1980, no birth facts or any possible siblings have been made public.
It is, however, known that her mother was a stewardess on Ethiopian Airlines who was handpicked by King Haile Selassie for her beauty, given that flight attendants were regarded as ambassadors for the country which meant they had to be stunning. Also, her father was a businessman who favored dressing in a suit more than any other outfit.
Growing up, Assefa spent time in a strict Catholic household that lived in Addis Ababa. A long-time dedicated fashion lover, Gelila caught the fashion bug as a child, regardless of her strict background and quickly began to sew clothes for her dolls, using scraps of fabric from her mother’s tailor.
At age 16, she got a little freedom from her strict parents when she left her home for LA to live with her uncle and his family. There, she attended Trade-Tech College in LA to perfect her skills. When she was done with her studies at the college, she moved to Paris in search of job opportunities. In the 1990s, she returned to LA to work as a fashion designer for a fashion brand. The designer spent a few years working for the brand before eventually quitting to begin her own atelier which has turned out to be a worthwhile decision. She now owns a trendy handbag line and has launched a hugely popular couture gowns line that is doing great sales-wise.
Off the fashion industry, Gelila also shows huge love for helping the needy as a philanthropist. She runs her own charity organization known as the Dream For Future Africa Foundation which benefits African children by offering opportunity and equity for the less privileged in the continent and also serves on the board of Ethiopian Children’s Fund.
Her charitable works have been honored by different brands including BMW, VERTU, and Essence Magazine. In 2009, she was bestowed with Champion of Children Award from the Children’s Institute of Los Angeles where she is among the Board of Trustees.
Facts About Gelila Assefa
- Love Life With Wolfgang Puck
Gelila met her chef husband in the late ’90s when the brand she worked for sponsored a trip to Spago on Sunset Strip and Wolfgang Puck attended to sign a cookbook for them. After their meeting, the two didn’t hit it off as soulmates immediately as Wolfgang was still married to his second wife Barbara Lazaroff who he had spent 20 years of his life with.
Their path later crossed again and they soon became romantic partners. After two years of dating, Wolfgang proposed to her. In 2007, the two tied the knot on a hillside above the Grand Hotel Quisisana in Capri, Italy. Their marriage has produced two children, sons Oliver and Alexander Puck. Gelila is also step-mother to Wolfgang’s children from his previous relationship with Babara Lazaroff, two sons Cameron and Byran.
Before Barbara Lazaroff who is listed as the co-founder of Wolfgang’s restaurants and designer Gelila, Wolfang Puck was married to Marie France Trouillot. The two stayed married from 1975 but divorced in 1980.
- Who Is Wolfgang Puck?
Wolfgang Puck is a star chef, restauranteur, and actor from Austria who runs over 20-classic restaurants spread across America. The celebrity chef who was born in 1949 in Carinthia Austria, also owns a line of foods that are displayed at premium supermarkets. He has also published a number of cookbooks including Adventures in the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck, among others.
- Body Features
The designer is beautiful just like her mother who for her beauty got favored in the eyes of King Haile Selassie, Ethiopian emperor. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 62kg. Her eye color is dark brown while her hair is black.
- How Rich Is Gelila?
From Gelila Assefa’s professional history, it is easy to know that she lives a very comfortable life financially, especially for her flourishing clothing and handbag line. Her net worth is estimated at $5 million, an amount most business people in her class can’t boast of. But her fortune is nothing compared to her husband Wolfgang’s net worth which is estimated at $75 million.
Gelila is a huge collector of vintage clothes and usually collects from the 1920s, 1950s, etc, usually using her atelier to restore her purchases.