Zelda Kaplan Collapses and Dies at NYC Fashion Show

Socialite and beloved philanthropist Zelda Kaplan died after collapsing in the front row of a New York City fashion show.

Zelda Kaplan was 95 and met her end while attending a Joanna Mastroianni runway show, according to the Daily News. The crowd at the fashion show was reportedly stunned as security rushed to her aid. They carried her out of the tent, while models continued to strut down the runway.

Doctors at the scene tried to revive Kaplan before taking her to Roosevelt Hospital, where she died.

A witness said that Kaplan appeared to faint, when she fell forward in her seat in front of designer, Joanna Mastroianna. Witnesses' accounts also say the nightlife legend's eyes started to flutter before she collapsed.

Fashion Calendar publisher Ruth Finley said that Kaplan died in her lap.

"I was sitting right next to her. She flopped over in my lap," Finley said. "The show was just starting. I thought she fainted. Two men carried her out."

Mastroianni released a statement showing her affection for Kaplan.

"For the last 40 years, Zelda Kaplan has been a staple in the New York social scene. She was best known for her sense of style and her incredible joie d'vivre (carefree enjoyment)," Mastroianni said. "We are deeply saddened to lose Zelda, such an icon in the fashion industry."

Zelda Kaplan became famous as a ballroom dance instructor and women's rights activist. She traveled through Africa in pursuit of women's rights issues and fashion inspirations. She visited countries like Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria to raise awareness about female genital mutilation and women's right of inheritance.

Society photographer Patrick McMullan called her a "true original and a cultural icon."

"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," McMullan said.

Kaplan was revered for her youthful spirit and stunning fashion sense. She was even featured in an HBO documentary called "Her Name is Zelda." The HBO special chronicled her transformation from house-wife to New York City socialite who frequented popular night clubs.

Amy Sacco, owner of the Bungalow 8 nightclub, said that Kaplan led a crazy, fun life, according to the Daily News.

"She was the most loyal customer ever, and the most fun," Sacco said.

According to Sacco the older Kaplan could outlast the wildest youngsters.

"There were 20-year-olds who couldn't keep up with her," Sacco added.