‘YOU CAN EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED’: GET TO KNOW MR. WHITE, THE MAN BEHIND DUBAI’S BIGGEST ‘SECRET’ PARTY YET!

‘YOU CAN EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED’: GET TO KNOW MR. WHITE, THE MAN BEHIND DUBAI’S BIGGEST ‘SECRET’ PARTY YET!
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If you haven’t heard of the ‘Secret White Party’, it’s only because the organizers of the event have done such a good job keeping it a secret! What started as an exclusive all-white dinner party in Paris called Dîner en Blanc, has now finished its fourth edition in Dubai.

Held at the W Hotel, this year’s party saw top performers Yann Destal from French duo Modjo, and Benjamin Diamond from dance sensations Stardust, taking center stage, much to the delight of the white-clad invitees.

With so much secrecy surrounding the event, we couldn’t help but want a few answers from the man responsible for what is easily Dubai’s most top-secret party.


How do you keep the venue a secret?

This is a fundamental part of the event and so, we have to manage it carefully. First of all, the organizing committee has less than 10 people in it. We prefer to keep it this way since they’re the ones who decide on the actual location. We’ve never had anyone guess the venue for the event. This is because we commit the venue itself to a vow of secrecy. We even use codenames such as “John’s birthday” during internal communication so there is no reference to the ‘Secret White Party’ or Mr. White Dubai. Last but not least, we fully brief our partners, the press and even the artists that will be performing in order to avoid any leaks. Maybe we should start using Non-Disclosure Agreements? I’m kidding.


How do you go about selecting the venue?

There are certain sentiments that we try to invoke in our guests through the venue – WOW!, awe, surprise, etc. For this, the venue needs to be exceptional, unusual, magical and unique. The ‘wow’ factor will follow accordingly. For example, if the venue is exceptional in itself such as Dubai Opera; or if the way the venue is used is unique such as Dubai Polo And Equestrian Club; or if the view is magical like the one at La Cantine du Faubourg; or if the place is unusual such as the beach at Sofitel The Palm; or, like this year, the W Hotel which hadn’t opened and was totally new.

Another thing we look for in a venue is a party spirit; it’s important that we click with it in terms of having the same mindset. We are not driven by short-term profits or revenue targets. We’re here to have fun in a glamorous venue that will only benefit in the long-term as a result of the crowds we bring in.


If we were to take a peek into this year's guest list, what kind of people would we find?

Well, that would be difficult since we are very careful about our guest list and the people we invite! But you would find a broad variety of the “right people” with a rare combination of attributes. Think chic epicurean party-goers who are also committed and reliable. We manage to bring together people from diverse geographic areas and age groups. So, you have the type of crowd you’d expect at such a party –influencers, models, nightlife animals, journalists, etc. But you’ll also find a host of CEOs and decision-makers from a varied mix of industries: luxury, GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), hospitality & tourism, finance, etc. Then, there are also embassy officials, artists, art gallery directors, etc. Mind you, EVERYBODY is subject to the same “rules” which require being co-opted by an existing guest, committing a while ahead and preparing thoroughly for the event.



How different is the event in Dubai from the original one?

That’s a good question. We were inspired by the original event that takes place in Paris each year where a crowd, dressed in white, descends upon a public space for a secret pop-up dinner. It’s the best event of the year! The logistics in Dubai posed a series of challenges for us. No way, were we going to break the law and invade a public space or consume alcohol in an illegal place. So, we had to find a solution. We thought of finding licensed places that were willing to collaborate with us, and we asked our guests to contribute. Having said that, we work hard to maintain some key principles – remaining anonymous, not being money-oriented and keeping the party a secret.


Is it difficult to choose performers or DJ for the event?

Yes, it is difficult, and for several reasons. Firstly, we have to find performers with a "wow" factor – that means, artists that the guests would not be expecting. Secondly, the performers should also be able to resonate with a very diverse (and demanding) crowd. This year, bringing Yann Destal, from Modjo and Benjamin Diamond, from Stardust was quite a feat for us! We pulled it off through friends, of course! We always want to surprise our guests, so we are actively looking for performances by like-minded artists.


Why the emphasis on the color white?

Well, at the beginning it was in honor of the people in Paris. Now, it’s convenient and adds to the elegant and creative theme of the event….Maybe we should do a #SECRETBLACKPARTY!




When do you start planning the event?

We are always on the lookout for original venues. Sometimes venues approach us; sometimes we approach them. The time it takes to organize and plan is dictated by our logistics. On the one hand, we have our own activities to take care of: drafting the list of guests, getting them to commit, finding the artists, the partners, etc. On the other hand, we have venue-based preparations such as their readiness (like the case of W Hotel which hadn’t opened), the equipments needed (it’s easier having performers on a stage like the one in Dubai Opera than on a beach) and lastly, their availability. It took us 15 months to organize the actual party at Dubai Opera. The minimum would be two months, I would say.


How do you decide on what type of entertainment to include for the guests?

This is a chic, exclusive gathering of 1,000 people which dictates as well as rules out a certain type of entertainment. The costs are also considered as we try to keep the budget low. But with creativity, persuasion and hard work, you can achieve a lot!


Can we expect any international artists to perform at the next event?

You can expect the unexpected, yes. Does that mean we’ll have international artists? Most probably!

**Edited for clarity**

Check out all the highlights from this year’s White Party!
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