Today I’m exited to share with you an amazing event I attended about 3 weeks ago called Le Diner En Blanc®. The concept is a chic all-white picnic held in a public space in the city. A congregation of people, food and fashion creating a magical atmosphere which is neutral in both decor (all-white) and space (public place).
Participants only find out the location of the event about 2 hours before it starts. You have to wear all white, bring your own food, white dishware and table linens, and depending on the location, your own table and white chairs. Given that this event is held in a public space, there are many “rules” of the evening which allow for it to come together quickly and efficiently. Here they are (from the Diner En Blanc Toronto website):
- In order to participate, one must be invited by a participant from the previous year or get on the official website’s waiting list.
- Once confirmed, the presence of each guest thus becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event is held regardless of weather conditions.
- Seats are allotted on-site in a very specific manner.
- Table seating is symmetrical with men seated on one side and women on the other.
- Participants arrive and depart at the same time by chartered bus or organized public transportation.
- Depart with one’s belongings, leftovers and trash, leaving the place as clean as it was upon arrival.
Sounds like a lot of work, I know, but let me tell you that a little bit of work from everyone results in something which is truly a visual masterpiece, as you will see.
But first a little history. This event originated 25 years ago in (no big surprise) Paris, France, when François Pasquier assembled just a few of his friends for an all-white picnic. It has grown rapidly over the years and today Paris’ Dîner en Blanc draws nearly 15,000 people. It doesn’t hurt that Le Diner En Blanc® in Paris has been held in some of the most magical places like Versailles and under the Eiffel Tower. The event has since expanded to dozens of other cities worldwide. You can learn more about the event at Le Diner En Blanc® website.
The setting for Le Diner En Blanc Toronto this year was Echo Beach at Ontario Place, which was a fabulous location because it has such a stunning view of the City.
Now, I was lucky enough to get media tickets from a blog who wasn’t able to attend (thank you Girls on Bloor!) which meant that I didn’t have to bring all my own food and wine. As mentioned above, all attendees arrive and depart together, but because media could arrive a little earlier than the crowd I was able to take this awesome photo of the city with just a few of the organizers/volunteers dressed in white in the foreground.
Being there early also meant I got to take some great photos of the 1500 people arriving and setting up. Yes I said 1500. And considering the numbers it took very little time to get everyone in place!!
Adding to the beauty of the setting were ballerinas dancing near the entrance for the attendees to enjoy on their way in.
The dinner is officially started with the waving of white napkins. And then people get down to eating, drinking and generally having a good time. There was a band that kept everyone entertained white they ate by candlelight, and a dance floor for post-Diner fun.
I will apologize now for the quality of my pictures after this point. I only had my iPhone with me for the event (still deciding which camera to invest in since I lost my mine) so the night-time pictures are less than stellar. But even had I had an amazing camera with me, I think it would be hard to really comprehend the beauty of this event just looking at pictures, without experiencing it in person.
At the end of the evening everyone was given a large sparkler and the sea of white around me slowly turned into a sea of white and fire. Another ridiculously cool sight to behold.
And as you can imagine, the fashion is to die for. So many gorgeous ensembles. And there were prizes for best dressed, so people had a vested interest in looking fabulous. When the woman in the picture below walked in I said to myself, she is soo the winner for best-dressed.
But as it turned out, she was actually the JUDGE for best dressed contest so she wasn’t eligible. But she most certainly looked the part. I loved the fur, fascinator and her dress was absolutely gorgeous.
The woman below MADE her fabulous mask she is wearing….the detail is just amazing.
But ultimately best dressed went to this woman, with her classic sophisticated look and beautiful fascinator. You can see both the male and female best-dressed and other Diner en Blanc style on the Got-Style blog.
This is the only picture I have showing what I wore, taken unbeknownst to me by my friend Monisa who was my +1 for the festivities. And given the weird things I do with my face when I know I’m being photographed, it’s probably better I didn’t know.
It was really amazing to part of this event and was for sure one of the many highlights for 2014. You can see more reviews and photos of the event at Best of Toronto, Toronto Life and Got Style blogs. I’m definitely getting myself on the waiting list for the next one…..I’ve already started planning about my outfit!