FROM THE VAULT (SUMMER 2008)
Elizabeth Saltzman Walker: International Social Editor, Vanity Fair
I think it’s funny that Elizabeth Saltzman Walker and her two beautiful children live in London. That’s because Elizabeth is quintessential New York. First at Vogue and then at Vanity Fair since 1994, she’s larger than life, she’s beautiful and she’s more connected than a circuit breaker on the stock exchange. Momma, as she lets a few people call her, is the type of woman that you can call up and say: “I need the name of a hot nightclub in Mexico City,” and, within minutes, an email will pop up on your BlackbBerry with the name of a restaurant only the chicest of Mexicans know about and the name of the maître d’ and his direct mobile number; also included will be the name and number of a place to meet for drinks before, a club to go to after, a list of clubs not to go to (’cause one place is so over or another place will call the paparazzi), what room you should have booked in a hotel that you should be staying at, and the name of a security co-ordinator. And, what the hell, she’ll throw in a some names and numbers of good friends down there that would take you out – and that just happen to have a jet if you need to get out of town in a flash.
And those legs go on for days. She was raised in a rarefied world where entertainment is a skill (Andy Warhol was a party pal back in the day, and her cell phone has names like Uma and Mary-Kate on speed dial – there’s a reason that she’s spearheaded that little Vanity Fair Oscars party for nearly a decade) and a woman’s appearance is paramount. She pushes the envelope on sex appeal with short skirts and high boots, but she has never, ever looked like anything but a lady.
Yet, more than her ability to wine, dine, dress and entertain is her ability to take care of people. She makes her friends feel like family, and she goes above and beyond the call of duty for work (sure, Tom Ford, it’ll be easy to shoot an actress in the London Eye for your Hollywood issue) and for friends (sure, famous actress, I can tell his publicist to call your publicist for date). Are you a chain-smoker who is irritated by London’s recent smoking bans? Fine, she’ll take you to the roof of Nobu for a fag between courses. You’ve heard of this place called Annabel’s but don’t know where it is or how to get in? Fine, she’ll pick you up, sign you in as her guest and put you at a table with Naomi Campbell.
Don’t expect her to stay long, though. Just when you think the night can’t get any better, just when you think you’re at the peak of your evening, Momma slips into her Burberry trench (or maybe it’s a Lilly Pulitzer pink wrap jacket, depending on her mood) and skips out the back exit. And if you’re smart, you’ll go with her. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s when to leave a party – a skill that I’ve yet to pick up. Not that she’s rude about it, though. She’ll text you from the ride home, thanking you for a lovely evening, and she’ll call you tomorrow to do it all over again. That’s because she has things to do at home – feed and dress her kids, and then take them to school in the morning. People go on and on about what it means to be a chic, metropolitan working woman and mother today, but to find the answer, one needn’t look further than Elizabeth Saltzman Walker.
by Derek Blasberg