Her Name Is Zelda HBO

February 28, 2012 by staff 

Her Name Is Zelda HBO, The Fashion Week crowd was stunned Wednesday when 95-year-old nightlife legend Zelda Kaplan died during a runway show. Kaplan was seated near gossip queen Cindy Adams and supermodel Carol Alt in the front row of designer Joanna Mastroianni’s show when she fainted as models began sashaying.

Moments earlier, she had caught the eye of photographers with her festive red skirt suit, matching hat and black heels. Security carried her out of the show. She was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

“I saw out of the corner of my eye a bit of commotion just about as the sixth look was coming out,” one showgoer said. “They were carrying her out flat.” A former ballroom dance instructor and a champion of women’s rights, the twice-divorced Kaplan refused to be defined by her age, remaining a club kid at heart.
“She did have one crazy fun life that lady,” said Amy Sacco, former owner of shuttered nightclub Bungalow 8. “She was the most loyal customer ever, and the most fun.”

Decked in her signature African-print dresses and oversize sunglasses, Kaplan “could outlast the wildest youngsters,” said Sacco. “There were 20-year-olds who couldn’t keep up with her.” Sacco, who is reopening her celeb-studded hot spot, said, “I’m devastated that she won’t be the first one through the door.”

A 2003 HBO documentary about Kaplan entitled “Her Name Is Zelda” follows her metamorphosis from housewife to hard-partying single lady. Kaplan also traveled throughout Africa, championing women’s rights and raising awareness about female genital mutilation.

“Zelda Kaplan is a true original and a cultural icon, particularly to seniors as persons who are vivacious, unpredictable and great fun to be around,” said society photographer Patrick McMullan.

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