Under the magnificent white tents at Queen Elizabeth Plaza, Vancouver…
Last week, sporty, casual False Creek was transformed into a chic Parisian idyll by stylish all-white ensembles worn by guests attending the 5th annual Diner en Blanc Vancouver. Over 6,000 partygoers descended on Concord Pacific Place at edge of False Creek, making this an evening for the record books as Canada’s largest outdoor dinner party.
Attendees came by land and by sea. During the evening rush hour, a multitude of picnic goers, dressed head to toe in white, could be found on buses, trains and boats. Many even travelled on foot along the False Creek seawall, carting baskets and other party necessities, to the secret venue which was announced to all participants at just around 5:30 pm. At this very exclusive summer event, guests must not only dress in all white but must also bring their own table, chairs and picnic basket.
The evening was a whimsical display of eclectic style. I saw women, young and old, dressed in everything from sexy mini skirts to long dresses with thigh high slits, from playful ruffles to sensual lace blouses with plunging necklines. These lovely outfits were topped off with a range of headwear, including wide brim straw hats and flower crowns. One of the biggest fashion trends this summer is the off the shoulder look for women and that particular trend was well represented at this year’s Diner en Blanc. The men were no less chic than the ladies with several outfitted in crisp white tuxes and top hats.
Produced by Social Concierge, Diner en Blanc Vancouver opened its gates at 5:30 pm and, within two hours, over 6,000 participants had arrived, found their designated spots and set up their tables with plates, cutlery and, in some cases, elaborate table settings, including fresh flowers and chandeliers with lights. With tables stretching up to 30 metres covered with white linen, all the women were seated on one side with men on the other and the event began with its traditional napkin wave.
Dinner was available for pre-purchase from Cocktails and Canapes. Offered were several menu options, including gluten free choices and entrees such as sous-vide flank steak paired with a Chateau Pesquié 2012 Quintessence AOC Ventoux (France) or herbs de Provence seared albacore tuna complete with demi baguette and escarole salad. For dessert there was a London Fog creme brulee or a port poached pear with vanilla bean cream paired with a delightful Le Paradou Viognier (France).
Throughout the venue, guests were entertained by 75 street performers along with live music in French, of course. As the sun dropped below the horizon to the west and was replaced by the glowing red lights from BC Place which overlooked the venue, I noticed awestruck passengers on the Skytrain high above, waving to the crowds below as people from all walks of life shared a meal and partied the night away in stark and stunning white. For the celebratory finale of the evening, the darkness was set alight by waving sparklers.
Year after year, Diner en Blanc Vancouver calls to mind the elegance and glamour of high French society and this year was no exception. For just one special summer evening, we all looked and dined like fashionable Parisians. Viva la Vancouver!