Inside Dîner en Blanc Edmonton: 33 party pictures of stylish all-white ensembles

Photography by Randee Armstrong

Last Thursday night, for the second time ever, Edmonton threw its secret all white picnic, Dîner en Blanc, trading in last year’s torrential summer downpour in Louise McKinney Park for one chilly September evening in the heart of downtown Edmonton at Sir Winston Churchill Square. But if anyone was concerned about the un-summer-like temperatures, it was hard to tell. Fifteen hundred guests dressed in white ensembles (from leggy to long lace numbers, jumpsuits and cocktail attire) accessorized in cozy shawls, fall coats, and fuzzy blankets en blanc. They embraced the event like nothing was awry—not even the giant Edmonton Symphony stage (that was likely a logistical error) blocking the view of City Hall’s picturesque fountains.

A more urban setting than last year, the event felt much more like a party than a picnic, with DJ Thomas igniting a dance party under the stars after dinnertime serenades by The Daniel Gervais Gypsy Jazz Trio and the sparkler lighting that seemed to send everyone into photo hysteria. Meanwhile, author Todd Babiak taught everyone to speak French and Edmonton’s undeniably cool First Lady, Sarah Chan, danced all night behind the DJ booth. It was like everyone was teetering on the edge of that moment where Skrillex hijacks Justin Bieber’s “Where Are You Now?”, fearless of the throng of selfie sticks that could emerge from any angle at any moment.

Jokes aside, it’s an event we hope never goes out of style. Whether it’s the majestic sea of white that gets you excited, or your one chance per year to legally drink wine in a public space (“It’s part of the French culture!” argued passionate members of the Francophone community, seated to our right), or the fact that so many people could all be in on one big secret, all together, all at once, and still manage to shock passersby, it’s a grand display of a fashion scene we’ve always known exists.