IMG Models Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ivan Bart, B.A.'85, and client Emily DiDonato

Ivan Bart, B.A.’85

“In the Fashion Space”

By Carol Olechowski

Stuffing envelopes may seem a humble task, but for IMG Models Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ivan Bart, it was the precursor to an exciting career. He started in the public relations business by promoting a New York City physician’s speaking engagements, then took a position with a PR firm “that had a modeling agency attached to it. I stuffed envelopes with people’s pictures and mailed them. Little by little, I gained recognition and represented some big people. I worked at various other firms in New York and eventually got into IMG. I’ve been there for 17 years.”

Bart poses with supermodel Carolyn Murphy

Bart poses with supermodel Carolyn Murphy.

Bart, who “thought psychology was what I wanted to do,” transferred to the University at Albany after two years at SUNY Oneonta. “In retrospect, I valued the opportunity of living in the city and going to a good school in an urban environment. I was thrilled to be at Albany. The University had everything a college should have. A college education is supposed to help a young person evolve and learn about himself. I was able to do that at Albany.”

He lived in an apartment on Lark Street and “couldn’t wait to hang out with all the hipsters there and be part of the scene” after classes. Bart also enjoyed the concerts, theater and other cultural attractions on and off campus.

On his way from one class to another, he admired the uptown campus environment. In his native New York City, Bart marvels that “the same architect [Edward Durell Stone] who designed Lincoln Center” designed his alma mater. “Every time I go to Lincoln Center, I think of UAlbany.”

At the University, he also met “so many diverse people.” Bart found a lifelong friend in Deborah Kelsey, a student five years his senior; the two met in class and “were very close.” The friendship lasted for 20 years, ending only with Kelsey’s passing a few years ago. Bart, who still mourns his friend, takes comfort in the memory of having met her at Albany. “The whole gestalt of the experience,” he reflects, “was very positive.”

Bart remained in Albany for a year after graduation. After treating himself to a European tour, he returned home and landed “in the fashion space,” where he has worked for 25 years “with some of the biggest models: Lauren Hutton and Stephanie Seymour and Carolyn Murphy.” Bart negotiates fees for endorsements, catalogue and magazine work; “manages how they look, how they dress”; and otherwise guides their careers. He has also worked with actresses Liv Tyler, Julianne Moore, Milla Jovovich “and some other famous people.”

Bart poses with director Darren Aronofsky and actress Marisa Tomei

Director Darren Aronfsky and actress Marisa Tomei with Ivan Bart.

The fashion business, Bart points out, is “a young environment. I’m surrounded by college-age people all the time, so as I hit midlife, I’m still very much in touch with the latest music and celebrities. We’re in a world that’s moving quickly, and it’s important to understand the ways young people communicate or are communicated with. That’s a very big plus in my business.”

When he isn’t working, Bart enjoys his country home, where “I garden, eat fresh food and go to the local farmers market.” Travel likewise remains one of his passions. “I love seeing new places and experiencing different things. I’m adventurous; I don’t need tour guides. I love to find little gems, like a tiny restaurant where Mama is cooking in the kitchen, or the chicest little stores.” His favorite destination is Paris, “a big, daunting city that feels uniquely familiar. I’m never lost in Paris. I’ve connected also in Africa and in various parts of Asia and Latin America, and I like to vacation in Sicily.”

Bart’s must-see list includes Easter Island. “I would also love to explore the Middle East and its culture, which intrigues me. I think I would be pleasantly, sweetly surprised and would delight in some unique experiences with people who are very warm and friendly.”

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