Barbara Kavovit knows there’s life after bankruptcy.
Her Barbara K Enterprises, which marketed tools, work clothes and repair kits with a look and feel for women and a philosophy that home improvement work isn’t just for men, went bust in April 2008. However, she’s back in business with a licensing company called Barbara’s Way, with a similar mission and new backers, including David J. Myerson, former president of Penthouse International Inc.
Barbara’s Way develops, designs and packages products and leaves the manufacturing to others. The name will be on Isotoner gloves and mitts designed for household chores like cleaning, gardening and gripping hammers and nails. But there’s nothing mundane. They’re colorful and imbued with fit and stretch.
Kavovit said the gloves will be sold at homedepot.com, Amazon.com and Macy’s by around Mother’s Day. There are six types, three colors in each, including a “grip it” glove to open things easily; cleaning mitts and gloves for dusting and removing smudges; a long gardening glove, and a medium-length version. There is also a “trigger finger” glove with cushioned palm and finger exposed so the wearer can hold a nail straight or use a BlackBerry. The gloves have pockets for rings and built-in terry cloth perspiration wipes.
Other licensing deals are with Stanley Tool Co. for female-friendly tools, plumbing kits to repair toilets or stopped-up drains made by Masco Corp. and programmable thermostats from Hunter Fan Co.
Kavovit once had her own construction management company and years ago handed out business cards to women in shopping center parking lots, offering to act as an “interpreter” between them and their contractors. She considers herself‘a pioneer” in demystifying the home improvement sector. “It’s always been a mystery to women,” Kavovit said. “All these engineers and manufacturers made it impossible for women to understand. A woman doesn’t shop for a hammer, but she shops to make her home comfortable and stylish, so if you make a hammer or a work glove fashionable, a woman would be more apt to buy it.”
The repair kits she’s marketing to women for fixing problems in the kitchen and bathroom take some inspiration from the beauty business. Said Kavovit: “When women buy lipstick, they will also buy a lip liner and lip gloss. Women want solutions, things packaged together as a unit. So I am not just selling a plunger. I am selling a kit with stylish packaging and a simple set of instructions.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast