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The Hawkings: ‘This party’s all about warmth and feeling at home’

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A Texan by birth, Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (former SVP of communications at Tom Ford before she founded the luxury flower service Flowerbx in 2015) has been throwing parties for what she describes as her “crew” for decades. And her crew is very fashion. A typical gathering at the house in west London she shares with her husband and three children might include Emilia Wickstead (who designed the pink dress Whitney is wearing), stylist Elizabeth Saltzman and Net-a-Porter’s Alison Loehnis. Over the years the gang has grown to include new partners, children – and whippets. Often she’ll invite them round for Thanksgiving and, while she is vegetarian herself, she will still do a turkey. 

Handwritten menus and impeccable tablescaping © Kate Martin
Emilia Wickstead and Elizabeth Saltzman at the table. Below: Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (centre, in pink) and her husband Peter Hawkings (near left) with their son, Snowdon (seated front right), host their friends (clockwise from left), Elizabeth Saltzman, Tom Konig Oppenheimer (with Ursula, the family’s whippet), Alison and Tilly Loehnis, Emilia Wickstead and Adam Beaumont Brown
Emilia Wickstead and Elizabeth Saltzman at the table. Below: Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (centre, in pink) and her husband Peter Hawkings (near left) with their son, Snowdon (seated front right), host their friends (clockwise from left), Elizabeth Saltzman, Tom Konig Oppenheimer (with Ursula, the family’s whippet), Alison and Tilly Loehnis, Emilia Wickstead and Adam Beaumont Brown © Kate Martin

The group here tonight is like family. “This party’s all about warmth and feeling at home,” says Whitney. “Of course, there are other types of party we throw too, where you mix up friend groups and get to see different sides of people, but that’s not what this feast is about.”

When it comes to entertaining, Whitney keeps it simple. For starters, her go-to is chilled crudités and guacamole. “I’m from Texas so I make my guacamole wicked and spicy.” Tonight, for the main course and pudding, she’s called on her friend Ruth Rogers of the River Café (“I’m not cooking because it’s busy and I’m a working mum”). The restaurant’s philosophy of letting the best ingredients speak for themselves chimes with her own single-varietal take on floral arrangements. “It’s my taste. Simple.” There’s spaghetti tossed in tomato sauce with antipasti misti, and for pudding “a beautiful lemon tart so it’s not so virtuous”. 

Alison Loehnis with Whitney’s daughter, Wallis
Alison Loehnis with Whitney’s daughter, Wallis © Kate Martin

Spaghetti tossed in tomato sauce served with sautéed spinach
Spaghetti tossed in tomato sauce served with sautéed spinach © Kate Martin

Whitney wears a dress by guest Emilia Wickstead
Whitney wears a dress by guest Emilia Wickstead © Kate Martin

Whitney likes to serve pink champagne to start, then Valpolicella (or vodka tonics for those who prefer). There might be a bit of Beyoncé and dancing before the night is out, shares Loehnis. And Whitney’s secret to the perfect end to the evening? “One bottle too many for the table and then everyone goes home at a not-insane hour.”

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