I think this sounds pretty awesome. And kind of epic.
On Thursday 20th September at 7.30pm, 1000 people will descend upon a secret London location, all dressed in white and armed with the ingredients for a rather posh picnic. Given just one hours notice of the destination, they will take their hampers, plates, cutlery, food and fizzy wine (there’s no beer allowed) and congregate for a magical, communal, al fresco dining experience.
Why? Just for fun really. It’s called Dîner en Blanc and it’s a concept that was invented by (you guessed it) a Frenchman, François Pasquier, in 1988. On returning to Paris after several years abroad, Pasquier wanted to gather his friends for a dinner party. Rather than host it in his own maison, he told all his pals to meet at a park and wear white so they could find each other. Now the ‘epicurean flash feast’ takes place in 20 cities across five continents every year and it’s coming to London for the first time in September.
Despite the 1,000-strong guest list and outdoor location, it’s actually a pretty exclusive affair. To gain a place (and a plus one) you have to register on a waiting list, with preference going to previous attendees first. Last year, more than 30,000 people applied to attend the first US Dîner en Blanc, in New York’s Battery Park.
If you are lucky enough to grab an elusive invitation for the London event you’ll have some pretty strict guidelines to follow. As well as adhering to the compulsory ‘any colour as long as it’s white’ dress code you’ll be required to bring a picnic hamper with ‘high quality menu items’, wine or champagne (beer and spirits are prohibited), a white table cloth, white cloth napkins, a table (of a specified size), white foldable chairs, and flatware, stemware and crockery in fuchsia (just kidding, of course they’ve got to be white too). I think the idea with the is to weed out anyone who can’t be bothered to make an effort. And judging by the video below, the diners in white sure do make an effort.
At the end of the night everyone packs away their things and it’s like they were never there. Oh, and for the cynics among you, this isn’t some thinly-veiled PR stunt. There’s no big corporate sponsor and it’s run by a not-for-profit organisation – ‘there is no goal except to spending an extraordinary night‘ they say. So Parisien, non?
But what if it rains? I wouldn’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be all white on the night. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
Dîner en Blanc London takes place on Thursday 20th September 2012 at 7.30pm. The location will be revealed to invitation holders an hour before the event. Visit www.london.dinerenblanc.info/waiting to register or visit the Facebook or Twitter pages.