How Anna Wintour Gave Celebrity Stylist Elizabeth Saltzman Her Big Break

Elizabeth Saltzman
Elizabeth Saltzman
Courtesy image

Each day in June, FN is highlighting female forces in the industry as part of our Women in Power series.

Elizabeth Saltzman, the stylist behind Gwyneth Paltrow, Deepika Padukone and Saoirse Ronan’s classic looks, opened up on a career milestone, which may come as a surprise. She also dished on how she is working on her social media skills and what she would have done differently. Read on to see what she had to say.

Elizabeth Saltzman Stylist Elizabeth Saltzman at the 2017 <em>Vanity Fair</em> Oscar after-party. REX Shutterstock

What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?
“The thing that immediately [sticks out] was the very beginning of my career when I was working at Vogue. I was working for Grace Mirabella, and Anna Wintour came in as the editor, and I pretty much thought, ‘There goes my job.’ Having her come in and keep me on board [was my big moment]. A breakthrough came when she put me in my place in the sense of giving me the room to learn, and she told me to be who I was and not to try and be anyone else. That advice allowed me to grow. It taught me that it was OK to believe in myself. The way you’re going to truly make it in life is to be true to yourself , and that’s for anyone, whether you’re a teacher, a nanny or a designer. I could give you ‘fame’ moments, but that was the aha moment.”

Is there anything you would have done differently in your career path?
“I would have archived my purchases, trends and things — special pieces we’ve made. For all the talents that I work with now, I ask the designers if we can keep the look, and then I put a picture of them wearing it, who did their hair, makeup, shoes and jewelry. We’ve been doing that for 10 years. Imagine having done that since 1984.”

What is the biggest challenge you faced in the last year, and how did you overcome it?
“I’m absolutely Instagram-challenged. People want more information [for me], and I’m just not good at it. I like privacy, but I should share. Social media for myself in my world, it’s vibrant and important. It’s part of this world. Even when I run into Evan Chen, she’s like, ‘Where are you’re videos?'”

Do you think women do enough to support other women in the workplace? Why or why not?
“I think it’s all about us. In the old days it wasn’t. People had more respect for men, and I think the tables have greatly turned. I’m a champion for all my fellow girls. I think that we care, we look, we see, we nurture, and we support and respect. Do we do enough? I guess we can always do more. I feel like we are doing pretty good.”

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self?
“I would have gotten more sleep. I would have liked to have worked on multiple language skills. They are important in life. I’ve kept every single train ticket stub. I would have also liked to have kept a journal.”

Last month, Saltzman debuted a new capsule collection with Rocket Dog featuring the label’s ’90s-style signature platform flip-flops. She took the Bigtop style — which in its 1997 heydey was worn by the Spice Girls, Jennifer Aniston on “Friends,” and on “My So-Called Life” — and gave them a modern day makeover. The offering features six revamped versions, including rainbow or monocromatic striped and pearl-strapped versions in both thong and slingback constructions.

Want more?

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