Zelda Kaplan Dies After Collapsing At Joanna Mastroianni Fashion Show

Feb 15, 2012 | Updated Oct 11, 2012

Update: The Associated Press has confirmed, through a Roosevelt Hospital spokesperson, that Zelda Kaplan has died.

From the Associated Press:

Kaplan was a friend of the designer’s stylist, Mia Morgan, according to the designer’s husband, Gideon Lewin, and had attended a number of Mastroianni’s shows.

“I was sitting right next to her. She flopped over in my lap,” said Ruth Finley, publisher of the Fashion Calendar. “The show was just starting. I thought she fainted. Two men carried her out.”


Zelda Kaplan, who celebrated her 95th birthday this past summer, collapsed while sitting front row at the Joanna Mastroianni fall 2012 show at Lincoln Center Wednesday afternoon.

The Post is reporting that Kaplan has passed away; we will update this story upon further confirmation.

According to the New York Post, witnesses saw Kaplan "slumped forward" once the show had already begun. Security rushed to her aid, carrying her out of the show where EMTs gave her CPR and put her in a hospital-bound ambulance.

Prior to her collapse, the bespectacled fashion maven was photographed smiling in her front row seat (see photos below). Kaplan is one of the stars of Ari Cohen's Advanced Style blog, which features fabulous fashionistas in their 70's, 80's and 90's.

Known for African-inspired hats and prints as well as her round sunglasses, Kaplan was a world traveler who had journeyed to countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria for both fashion inspiration and women's activism. According to the New York Times, she discussed issues such as a woman's right of inheritance and female genital mutilation with the African villagers she visited.

Kaplan was wearing one of her African-inspired outfits on Wednesday at Joanna Mastroianni's show, the same red and black ensemble she wore last April when she was filmed for Advanced Style. In the video, she imparted these words of wisdom: "One must be interested in the world, not oneself only."

Our thoughts are with Kaplan and her family, friends and loyal fashion fans.

Here's a video of Zelda being interviewed last year by Advanced Style's Ari Seth Cohen:

Below is a photo of Kaplan taken on Wednesday before her collapse, along with photos of her previous appearances.

Zelda Kaplan