Zelda Kaplan

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Zelda was born in 1916 and is “younger” in body, mind and spirit than most people I know. During my interview with her, it was remarkable to me that at ninety-four, there wasn’t an ounce of self-pity or time wasted with regards to her youth. I couldn’t help but think of how duped we are as a culture into believing that being young, as opposed to old, is some kind of nirvana. On the contrary, Zelda continuously reminded me of how great being “old” is. For the past few decades, present one included, Zelda has been one of the most influential faces in New York City for her sense of style and soul of a club kid. While we were together at The Rose Bar, she told me about how she fills her drink with water and pretends her glass is filled with alcohol, because people relentlessly try to buy her drinks. One would definitely notice Zelda whether she was at a hip lounge, party or anywhere else in one of her prototypical, awe-inspiring, African-derived ensembles, which includes a compulsory dramatic headdress and bag. Ironically, Zelda says, “Fashion has never interested me.” Rather, it is all about the design of the cloth, its color, patterns and the handcrafted techniques that are used to make it that sends her reeling. For the past fifty years, Zelda has collected cloth from remote African villages, turning them into her own designs. However, what is truly astonishing about Zelda is the noble cause that has given her the zeal to dedicate herself to living in mud huts in these isolated areas without electricity for months at a time. Her mission was to live among indigenous people and gently educate them about the damaging effects of the thousand year old tradition of clitoral surgery that is routinely administered to young tribal women. In response to my virtual disbelief at what seemed like a huge, gutsy undertaking, she said, “I wasn’t courageous, I was curious.” It was clear to me that sacrifice is not a word in Zelda’s vocabulary, just as age for her is not associated with decline. She says that she was born happy.

If you like Zelda you may also enjoy Ziva Naumann, Luxor Tavella and Michael Calloway

Zelda from Stylelikeu.com from StyleLikeU on Vimeo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10205987 Marissa Kenneke

    Zelda is pure joy, inspiring devotion and dedication for causes that are bigger than any of us at the age of 94. She is such an amazing woman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mullettajones Rachel Esterline

    born in 1916 and still killing it<3 94 years young.. get it.

  • cati

    i love her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shimeon.mattox Shimeon Mattox

    This lady is beyond cute, would love just to sit and have
    java or tea.. ps get in the the heels!!! at her age flats are

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1405253778 Domonique Echeverria

    IM COMPLETELY OBSESSED!!!!!! I love everything about this! So chic, wordly, sweet, love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667501092 Maaike Holvast
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5314599 Louis Mandelbaum

    I cant wait to be old too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hope.s.morgan Hope Morgan

    I met Zelda a couple of months ago at a fashion forum and she is just as fierce in this video as she is in person. At 94 years young I want to have a spirit just like hers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622789399 Mikaela Mar

    Zelda is amazing and inspirational! There are no boundaries to the way in which we can express ourselves, she is fearless and she makes me want to be fearless too.!!

  • Erick

    RIP Zelda… you were an inspiration to so many, demonstrating that age is nothing more than a number. I hope that I can be as fortunate as to live my life as full as you, and go out the way you did!

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