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Meals and merriment at Le Dîner en Blanc 2019

Sunday, December 08, 2019

The Le Dîner en Blanc (DeB) is always hush-hush, right up until a few moments before the start when hundreds, dressed entirely en blanc — white dresses, hats, shoes, purses, and even a few white wigs — with their picnic baskets and accoutrements in tow, make their way to the designated al fresco venue (much to the delight of curious onlookers in search of the next Instagrammable moment) for a chic, picnic-style dining experience. As the crowd converges, lensmen quickly adjust their shutter speeds in an attempt to capture the coveted crew, who after weeks of meticulous planning, just discovered where they would be spending the next few hours.

Launched in Paris by François Pasquier and his close friends in 1988, DeB has long become an international phenomenon. The event attributes much of its success to its prescribed attire, etiquette and décor. The rules are: be exquisitely dressed in all-white; bring tables, chairs as well as elegant stemware (absolutely no plastic, tut-tut!) fancy candelabra, tablecloths and china and a gourmet three-course meal to be had with wine and Champagne of your choice.

Despite the organisers' strict rules, on Saturday, November 30, people came in droves to the exclusive dining experience. As people threw their tablecloths into the air and watched as they landed perfectly on the specified rectangular tables, it was obvious that the evening was shaping up to be a lovely affair.

This year's DeB attendees were diverse in age and gender (although the women ruled supreme), with everyone basking in the soothing ambience created by the sea of white, and enjoying the company of friends. The fashion is probably the easiest part of the DeB experience and everyone played along with the all-white theme, with some going all-out in fabulous fascinators, trendy tifters and glamourous gloves. Women, meanwhile, were able to maintain flawless looks as make-up artists powdered noses and reapplied lipstick at the Milani beauty bar.

The waving of white napkins signalled the start of dinner, and those who had pre-ordered fare from Broken Plate, Whip It Up by Celeste Gordon, and Tootsie Kay Caterers were served by the chefs and their staff while the more hands-on patrons did what they do best — entertain! As the dinner vibe intensified guests grooved to tunes from reggae band Ziah & the Pushers while imbibing GH Mumm Champagne, served straight or with Pure Country orange juice for magical mimosas. For those who had worked up a sweat during dinner, Aqua Panna spring water was the perfect thirst-quencher.

Dinner out of the way, sparklers were lit to mark the end of the meal and the official opening of the dance floor. The experience reached its acme as revelers in full abandon partied to the sounds of deejays Narity and Bloodline Franco. White chocolate latte courtesy of Cafe Blue was the perfect detox at the end of a spirited evening.

And, like magic, guests packed up their tables and left the area as if they hadn't been there.