A VOGUE EDITOR'S favorite story about "Social Moth" Jerry Zipkin involves a state room he was occupying on a private yacht where they both were guests.

The awed host kept taking people down to show them the Edwardian elegance with which Zipkin had unpacked all the little silver and tortoise-shell and bone toilet articles without which he refuses to travel.

Zipkin, one of Ronald Reagan's favorite people, will be packing up all his silver and tortoise-shell and bone bibelots to check into the Renaissance Plaza in Detroit next week for the Republican convention.

Some of those around Reagan may be surprised to see Zipkin. It is claimed that Reagan advisers once complained when Zipkin was photographed on a podium with the candidate and his wife. Afterward, it was suggested that the Reagans might want to keep him out of camera range because of his frivilous, party-going image.

Zipkin, dashing last week to a waiting limosine to spend the Fourth with "Beautiful People" Mica and Ahmet Ertegun, said that no one has ever told him Reagan advisers want him to keep a low profile.

He was very much in evidence at the GOP convention four years ago in Kansas City, sitting in the Reagans' box, making all the right parties, arranging private peeks at the decor of all the best-looking houses for pals such as Betsy Bloomingdale and Pat Buckley.

Zipkin, a New York Realtor who could become very much part of the Washington social scene if Reagan is elected, was dubbed "Social Moth" years ago by Women's Wear Daily for obvious reasons.

When Andy Warhol's "Interview" magazine covered a dozen parties in Manhattan in May, Zipkin's name appeared prominently in half of them, spooning creme brulee with Bianca Jagger, nibbling steak au poivre with Egon von Furstenberg and Labor Secretary Ray Marshall's daughter, Lynn, munching soft-ball crab and fried parsley with columnist William F. Buckley. m

Zipkin knows and is known by everybody worth knowing or knowing about.

"Nancy Reagan's idea of heaven," says someone who knows her, "is sitting in The Bistro with Jerry Zipkin, listening to him gossip about everyone they know."

For $1.2 million, you can live right next door to Ronald and Nancy Reagan in Pacific Palisades. Of course, for $2.8 million, you can live in Sylvester Stallone's house, just down the street from the Reagans. Or, if you're on a budget, there's a place two doors from the Reagans that's going for $795,000. A real estate agent who is the authority on property in the Reagan's neighborhood said last week that, so far, their new status has already started pushing up prices.

Down in Plains, Ga., "The Other Miz Lillian" -- Lillian Pickett -- who cooks at the Main Street Cafe, spent a whole day last week getting Jimmy and Rosalynn's seldom-used house ready for them this weekend. "Miz Lillian" said she didn't mind the roaches so much ("They have to spray for them all the time"), but she wasn't too happy about all the dirty towels left over from Jeff and Annette Carter's last visit for their high school reunion. "Miz Lillian" doesn't do laundry. So she suggested that "Miz Allie" Smith -- Rosalynn Carter's mother -- come over and throw a couple of loads in the washing machine.

White House chief of staff Hamilton Jordan, who perfected his vanishing act on secret Panamanian and Iranian missions, has gone on vacation without a single sighting reported anywhere so far. His buddies, meanwhile, say there will be a fund-raiser to pay off the $150,000 legal bill he got from lawyers who represented him in the Studio 54 cocaine allegatlions. But not till after the election . . . New Jersey Sen. Harrison Williams' wife has been told by a soothsayer that he will be cleared of charges in the "Abscam" investigation . . . Universal Studios hasn't announced casting yet, but it sounds like a role for Ethel Merman. The new Washington version of the "Dallas" soap opera will center around a Perle Mesta matriarch whose oil-rich Kentucky family moves to the Nation's Capital, where Mama becomes a leading hostess and her daughter marries a senator . . . A story in a Persian Gulf newspaper says that Burke's Peerage, the definitive authority on British family trees, has run into trouble trying to include ruling families of Saudi Arabia in a new edition. A researcher found that there are between 2,000 and 4,000 princes, many of whom decline to answer letters asking them for biographical data.