Stylish success for Sydney's 'Le Diner en Blanc': video & pics . . .

From all accounts, a huge crowd turned out in Sydney on Saturday night,  dressed in white, for the first Le Dîner en Blanc in Australia.

More than 1500 Sydneysiders, converged on the forecourt of the Museum of Contemporary Art for Sydney’s inaugural Dîner en Blanc, a mysterious, impromptu and quite spectacular evening picnic.


From 6pm on Saturday evening, Australia’s global city put on fine weather, great tunes, delicious food, wines, plenty of white and some festive dancing in the shadows of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. And as soon as it started, it seemed it had gone – with the whole affair packed up and moved on before midnight.

Take a look at this snappy video wrap of the night:

Dîner en Blanc was launched by a group of friends more than 20 years ago in Paris (one of the events in Paris pictured above, outside Notre Dame) and now brings together more than 15,000 people each year, to some of the world’s biggest cities such as New York, Vancouver, Barcelona, Mexico City, Singapore and many more.

The event was supported by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and Santa Vittoria and swas part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Other partners included Pol Roger champagne, Terre a Terre and Spinifex wines.



Back-end stares and whispers? Didn't give a stuff when given the chance to test drive an Audi R8.

I have never, ever been in a car that has garnered as many stares and whispers as this one. And to be honest, it's not a bad feeling to have a heap of admirers -- mainly men, skater teens and small boys -- staring at your back-end with smiles on their collective faces. Obviously, it's the R8's exposed (rear) engine that gets them in. As well as its smooth noise. And clean lines. And sleekness. and damn sexiness. Need I go on?

This mighty fine specimen of A-list, hand-crafted aluminium was 'loaned' to me for a weekend, fulfilling one of my son Connor's (oh, and my) dreams. And sorry, son, we cannot afford one. The kid knew more about our R8 and was more protective of it than he would have been a pet python. That drew me to the conclusion that everyone should, at least once, drive – or even test drive -- a damn sexy sportscar. Which, in turn, led me to the next conclusion that my next car is going to be some/any kind of sportscar. Which in turn led me to the final conclusion that I need to get rich. Quick.

The precisely put-together R8 is nowhere near as ubiquitous as my trusty ole VW Golf -- there are just a double digit amount of R8's in Australia. But after our acceleR8-ing experience (the son made that little term up) I have now been officially spoilt. It will be hard to go back now.

The Audi R8 was designed as the German car company's city-drivable answer to a Porsche. And when it was unveiled in 2008 it had an engine based on the one in the Lamborghini Gallardo which -- like torque, downforce, kilowatts and ABS -- doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. All I know is that this car definitely has fire in its belly. It wants to go faaaast. And I could, quite possibly, have found a hot-wheeling husband with a passion for fast cars, IF I had continued driving it for the rest of my life.

Audi says its R8 can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in around 3.9 seconds and 97 to 200 km/h in 8.1 seconds. Shame the zillion school zones and residential zones we found over the weekend didn't let any of us fulfil the latter potential. But a drive from Sydney up along the northern beaches gave me all the ammo I needed to know this vehicle was the crème de la crème of cars.

There are all-LED headlights; a killer Bang & Olufsen 465 watt sound system and a body that oozes as much sex as a Victoria's secret fashion show. Or Mila Kunis. Simply, the R8 is an incredibly sexy car. Even sliding into it (and you verge on performing a limbo manoeuvre getting into the cabin) makes you feel like you have hurled yourself onto your wedding night hotel bed. If you get my drift.

The V10 engine would probably chew through the fuel but hey, who’s worried about the price of petrol when you've forked out enough bucks on a car to buy an inner city bedsit?

To be honest, the R8 is not an everyday car. You want to go full throttle but those pesky (ok, ok, much needed) 60km/h zones thwart that full teleporting acceleration experience. The B&O sound system is quite extraordinary. I felt like I was at a live gig each time my tunes were switched on. The transmission is S-tronic, which is chic Audi-speak for automated-manual, with the engine changing gears when it should. There are a number of ways you can ‘drive' the R8 but I opted keeping it in 'A' and it did all the gear-changing for me.

Look, I could have put more effort into actually driving this magnificent specimen of car-hood, and experimenting with the auto gear change system. But I was much too busy enjoying having my rear end (with the magnificent engine exposed under a veil of glass) checked out -- and waving to appreciative car fans with that "this is my car" confidence that only comes with driving a pricey but shockingly chic set of wheels. Simply, I loved it.

Footnote: a new Audi R8 will set you back well into the, gulp, $300k mark ... so get saving. Or find someone rich who'll buy it for you. As a gift. Let's wish.

(This piece first appeared in a similar form on



Alexander Skarsgard, Lara Stone & Calvin Klein: a perfume campaign with unresolved sexual tension. But where's Brad Pitt?

"a story of unresolved tension and desire. a man who knows what he wants, and remains in control. the mystery unfolds with infinite possibilities. ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein: masculine. intriguing. seductive." (NB: the lower case situ is a CK media release thing . . . )

Since Brad Pitt appeared in that recent Chanel No. 5 ad campaign, where he reels off a series of words, phrases and various states of mind (that, let's face it, don't make a whole lot of sense, but who cares?) any perfume media release that arrives has made me laugh that little bit louder.

Enter Alexander Skarsgård and Lara Stone, whose campaign for Calvin Klein's latest is a modern take on classic film noir – 'the dark and mysterious creative unfolds through a complex game in which the man ultimately remains in control of his desires, leaving the story open to infinite possibilities.

"Encounter Calvin Klein is an addictive blend of crisp spice, warm cognac and sensual woods. a contrast of freshness and warmth makes the men’s fragrance a new, distinctive expression of unapologetic masculinity.'

"Notes' (that's scent-speak for the smells of the perfume) of Encounter include mandarin, cardamom, rum, pepper, egyptian jasmine, patchouli, cognac, agarwood, atlas cedarwood and sexy musk.

Look, I haven't even smelt the stuff yet, but judging by the success of most Klein scents (Obsession, cK anyone?) this will probably do the same biz.

ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein: available from 28th October at Myer & David Jones& from November  25, at selected pharmacies. Stockists, call  1800 812 663.