A Dinner in Secret and in White

The Parisian Dîner en Blanc

It’s been a while since Diddy (né P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Diddy Dirty Money/Sean John Combs) hosted his annual White Party in the Hamptons, an indication that the era of the white carpet has come and gone.

On August 25th, a different white-clad crowd will gather, this time in a secret location in a public space somewhere in Manhattan, for New York’s first Dîner en Blanc (“Dinner in White”).

The exclusive dinner, part picnic, part flash mob, is limited to 1,000 guests who only receive the event’s location at the last minute. Unlike Diddy’s Hamptons fête, there will be no hordes of camera-toting, notebook wielding reporters, no limousines and no waitstaff. Instead, Dîner en Blanc’s attendees will arrive with their own chairs, tables and prepared meals, wine, and table decorations at the designated outdoor location ready to schmooze and booze (classily, of course).

The rules are simple, but strict. You must wear head to toe white. No uninvited guests. Upon departing the dinner, attendees must leave the space spotless.

The original Dîner en Blanc is the brainchild of Parisian François Pasquier, who threw the first dinner party with a few friends in 1988 at the Bois de Boulogne. Since then, the covert affair has grown into an annual event that hosts thousands of guests, and has inspired similar gatherings in cities such as Amsterdam, Munich and Zurich. Three weeks ago, the Parisan Dîner boasted 10,600 attendees garbed in white suits, hats and dresses: 4,400 at the Notre Dame Cathedral and 6,200 in the courtyard of the Louvre.

The New York City Dîner en Blanc’s model follows Pasquier’s original mission: to bring a medley of strangers and friends together in a secret setting to enjoy food, the city and good company. The dinner in August is limited to guests who have either been invited or pulled from the waitlist, which is accessible via the event’s sparse website.

We’ll admit it: We added ourselves to the list. A spontaneous late-summer evening spent at a candlelit table in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by a sea of white, sounds pretty perfect to us. A Dinner in Secret and in White