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Friday June 13, 2014 MYT 1:45:00 PM
Saturday June 14, 2014 MYT 10:59:49 AM
by jane f. ragavan
Setting up a picnic for a crowd of thousands is an exercise in choreography and organisation. – Photo Vivian Song/AFP
Outdoor pop-up restaurant draws around 12,000 smartly dressed diners.
Thousands of elegantly dressed Parisians clad all in white dined under the night sky on bridges around Paris last night (June 12) in an unusually chic take on the flash mob.
Organisers said 12,000 to 13,000 people – who managed to score one of the coveted invitations – participated in the 26th “Dinner in White” (Diner en Blanc), which raises money for cancer research.
The “mob” came dressed in elegant, wide-brimmed hats, dainty lace gloves and three-piece suits in varying shades of white, ecru and beige.
The location was kept top secret until about half an hour before the start of the event. This year, they gathered at six bridges across the city, including the Passerelle Debilly at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and Pont de l’Alma.
With military precision, rows of tables – which conform to precise measurements to ensure a unified aesthetic – were set up and topped with bouquets of fresh flowers, ornate candelabras, gold-gilded plates and silverware. In this civilised French dining experience, plastic cutlery and paper plates are strictly forbidden, as are beers and spirits.
At coordinated moments throughout the night, guests rose en masse waving their white napkins in the air, and lit up the night with sparklers.
Here’s a look at last year’s event in Paris:
From a little picnic to a worldwide phenomenon
Diner en Blanc began in 1988 when François Pasquier hosted a picnic for 200 friends in Bagatelle park and asked them to dress up in white to find each other. Little did he know that his idea would become an international phenomenon, now held in 40 cities worldwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Cape Town.
But unlike other editions, you cannot simply sign up and pay a fee to participate in the Parisian event. Guests must be co-opted or sponsored in order to participate.
In other words, they have to “know someone”.
Women must wear a white hat, gloves, flower or corsage, while men must don a white hat, a white flower boutonniere, and likewise be dressed all in white.
The menu must also be adhered to:
The closest one to us is in Singapore on July 5. For more international dates visit dinerenblanc.info.
For a look into what happens at Diner en Blanc, watch the documentaryDiner en Blanc: The World’s Largest Dinner Party (available on iTunes) by filmmaker Jennifer Ash.
Sources: AFP, LeParisien
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Lifestyle, Diner en Blanc, Dinner in White 2014
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