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Zelda Kaplan Women Africa

February 28, 2012 by staff 

Zelda Kaplan Women Africa, The death of a much-loved socialite during New York fashion week proved a fitting exit for the vivacious 95-year-old who tired neither of fashion nor of campaigning, Zelda Kaplan, the 95-year-old socialite best known for her signature African prints and fierce campaigning for women’s rights around the world, died on 15 February following her collapse at a New York fashion week show.

She had been sitting in the front row at Joanna Mastroianni’s catwalk presentation, and collapsed a few minutes into the show before being pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital. While Kaplan’s name was well known on the New York social scene and around the African continent, many in Europe may not know much about her. So who was Zelda Kaplan?

Despite her age, Kaplan was a regular fixture of Manhattan nightlife, often spotted dancing until dawn and partying with people under half her age. In June she celebrated her 95th birthday at the Gramercy Park Hotel and in January she was photographed at the opening of the XL nightclub. Kaplan liked to keep up her lively interest in the world around her, whether that involved the city’s nightlife, arts and culture on her doorstep, or more serious issues abroad. In an interview with the Daily Intel in 2010, she said her bedtime was “anytime between midnight and 7am”.

In a New York Times profile piece about her, Kaplan revealed that Amy Sacco, the owner of New York’s (now closed) Bungalow 8 club used to keep the door open for her. “Amy lets me in even when there’s a private party” said Kaplan. She became such a well known figure in the city that in 2004 the HBO network made a documentary about her life, entitledsimply: “Her Name is Zelda.”

Beyond the nightlife and the style icon status, though, Kaplan had a passion for travel and women’s rights. Kaplan rarely talked about her personal life, but it is known she was married twice, the first time for just 11 months and then a second time to a doctor.

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