Back in black

Not many people would try theming an event entirely in a single colour. DNA Productions MD Matt James rose to the challenge for the Trophée Chopard at the Cannes Film Festival

In May we were invited to design and produce the annual Trophée Chopard event and after-party for Chopard, official sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival. The awards celebrate up and coming talent in the film industry, and our challenge was to give the event a stylish makeover so it could compete with the other glamorous premieres and parties taking place during the festival. We decided to present it in a less formal way and have it reflect the stylish and chic nature that is Cannes.

People often choose colour themes for parties, but it is rarely, if ever, applied to all aspects of an event. We decided to apply a colour to every area, including the food and drink. The result was La Fête Noire.
Styling the event
To create a totally black invitation, with black text and paper, we printed the words in a gloss UV varnish instead of ink. The text looked black, but was still legible when it caught the light. This made for an effortlessly chic and stylish invitation. Being in France, we paid tribute to designer Philippe Stark by using his eclectic style of mixing objects and furniture, juxtaposing quirky modern pieces with antiques. We lined the marquee with a shimmering black silk, in front of which we installed wall sections, each with a different surface or pattern.

Against these we positioned elegant, ancient, contemporary and unusual objects, all black. They included a life-size horse, garden gnomes, fireplaces and a statue of Marilyn Monroe in her famous billowing white dress, which of course we sprayed black.

Among the props and furniture we placed items of sparkly costume jewellery, to remind guests of the Chopard product. This included a stuffed zebra head wearing pearldrop earings, a black skeleton with rings and braclets, a statue of a black cat with a diamond bracelet on its tail surrounded by a flock of magpies (each with jewellery on their beaks), and a Buddah statue wearing a diamond crucifx necklace.

To create a young, hip, casual feel we abandoned formal dining tables and replaced them with low, black-leather banquette seating. Finally, designing black food and drink proved easier than expected. Blavod black vodka and blackberry martini's did the trick for drinks, and guests chomped their way through such dark delights as black olive-encrusted monkfish with black beans and truffle potatoes, black sesame-covered salmon with wasabi soya sauce and mu-err mushrooms, and mille-feuille of Valrhona chocolate with blackberry coulis – all served by an army of waiting staff dressed in identical black-bob wigs.

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