There are very few things you can describe as “elegant fun.” Diner En Blanc is one of them. Around 6:30ish last night, 2,600 Angelenos dressed from h to t in white and lucky enough to have found a way onto “the list” (the waiting list is now in the 1,000s) got the word that Pershing Square was the spot for Los Angeles’s 2nd annual pop-up picnic known as Diner En Blanc. The dress code requires diners to wear all white, and bring their tables, chairs, centerpieces, and picnic goodies (there are no paper plates at this function) to have a chic meal en masse with the location announced moments before dinnertime. These pop-up dinners have been held in Paris (under the Arc de Triomphe), London, Mexico City, and for the first time last year in Los Angeles.
I lucked out and was invited to join the Celebrity Cruises crew. We all met up in front of Downtown’s Torrey Pines Bank until the bank’s steps couldn’t hold any more excited picnickers— then word was out about the picnic spot—Pershing Square. People in all-white ensembles then descended upon the square with their tables, chairs, and linens. More than one car passing by rolled down their window to ask if we were with “the church.” When the crowd poured into the venue, the music was already up and running, and the DJ’s tunes were mostly French rock (this concept was born in France 27 years ago) with some Edith Piaf thrown in for good measure. Later, different acts hit the stage after everyone waved their napkins signaling it was time to eat. Celebrity Cruises is a big-time sponsor and packed their tables’ dinners (thankfully, or I’d be eating PBJ on china). Apothic Wines also had a presence, handing out white masks to the revelers.
The centerpieces people brought ranged from chandeliers to orchids and the outfits from homemade butterfly headdresses to white three-piece suits. Some people stood on their chairs most of the night like it was a concert—only they were people watching. After dinner, couples literally strolled down the aisles to see and be seen, and the people on the dance floor displayed their skills. The effort everyone put into their table presentation and outfits was inspirational and the good humor was contagious. This is a big city; it’s nice when we all get together once in awhile. Don’t believe me? Check out the photos.