The always fashionable, 95-year-old Zelda Kaplan collapsed and died while sitting in the front row of the Joanna Mastroianni show today. Zelda was famous for her iconic look and for being the oldest person in the nightclub by about 40 years. She rarely missed a night out at whatever exclusive spot was popular the at the moment. And she wasn’t leaving by 10 PM, either—it wasn’t uncommon to see her out and about with the rest of us crazy kids at 3 AM. You’ve definitely seen her around, NEVER without her oversized owl shaped glasses and a tall African hat—her collection of those was surely unrivaled.
I knew Zelda. She was—and I only use this word about once a year when it’s really appropriate—fabulous. Whenever I would see her out at Bungalow 8 (every single night for years), I’d hold her captive in a booth and make her tell me stories about old New York for hours. Why waste your time talking to people your own age when you could really learn a thing or two from someone who has been around? I knew her champagne glass was filled with water, but we would keep “cheers-ing” one another anyway. You couldn’t help but smile when you were around Zelda, only because it was so awesome to see someone living it up like that in their twilight years. I always said I’d still be at it when I’m her age, but I’m already tapering off and I haven’t yet hit 30. She was really extraordinary.
She had the kind of really good soul that must have won her a ton of friends in her lifetime. Perhaps she had the soul of a 20-year-old (she must have in order to stay out that late), but she really was as kind-hearted as she was lively. I
There sure aren’t enough people like Zelda around. She cared about being glamorous until the day she died. And she clearly knew how to live. She wasn’t just the most vivacious old lady on earth—she also threw countless charity events and devoted her later years towards helping women who suffered from female genital mutilation. So many people will miss her.
Go call your fabulous grandmother right now and tell her how much you want to be like her.
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