Barbara K, the purveyor of feminized household tools, how-to repair kits and “functional fashion,” is back in business.
Her new line, called DIYVA by Barbara K, officially launches Nov. 29 with a party in the Cellar at Macy’s Herald Square in New York, and is being distributed to 310 Macy’s stores and on macys.com. DIYVA is short for “do-it-yourself diva.”
DIYVA will initially have pillow purses with a dual function — they’re purses that when turned inside out convert to pillows. Tool kits designed for women will also be sold and other products are in development, including a sleepover duffle with a built-in pillow, garden bags with mini rakes and knee pads, and gadgets and organizers for the kitchen. “Women want products that make life easier,” said Barbara Kavovit, aka Barbara K. “They need solutions to save time and money for their busy lifestyles, and to be independent” in a world still dominated by men.
It’s a modest new rebuild for Kavovit, after her Barbara K Enterprises went bust in April 2008 and a subsequent licensing company called Barbara’s Way which had licenses for tools at Wal-Mart and gloves for gardening and cleaning at Home Depot, ran its course. 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 de-mystifying the home improvement sector to women.
“I don’t think it’s by accident that I’ve been able to continually create new products for America’s largest retailers and with an understanding of what women of today want and need in terms of fashion and function,” said Kavovit.
The pillow purses, she explained, are constructed with enough cushioning to still keep cosmetics and other items in the bag and not feel them when you’re using the bag as a pillow. “They’re ergonomically designed to support your back and head and also carry your essentials,” Kavovit said. They’re also waterproof, sporty, compact and priced $49.99. She came up with the concept after suffering from a herniated disc and using her own handbag to prop up her back. “I was in so much pain.”
The tool kits, priced at $39.99, include levelers, interchangeable screw drivers, pliers, tape measures, stubby hammers with short handles easier for women to wield, and repair guides. All the tools are in trendy colors. “You are not going to use these for major renovations,” Kavovit said. “But you can hang pictures, tap in nails and do minor repairs.”
“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