February 15, 2005

Maria Dvirnik with Ivan Bart
Maria Dvirnik with Ivan Bart

Aaah... lettered agencies... DNA, Q, ID, R&L. A little over a year ago T revealed itself as Trump. Most people don't bother to think about the initials. To really understand IMG though, you need to understand what's behind the acronym. The I is for International, the G is for Group and the M - ah yes, the M. The M is for Management. And Ivan Bart is not about to let you forget it.

Ivan Bart, the Sr. Vice President of IMG Models, is a force. Whether in his Park Avenue office or navigating the Olympus Fashion Week environment in New York's Bryant Park, you can't ignore Ivan. You just follow him around and learn from him. And the one thing you learn above all else is IMG does not employ agents.

"One of the main things we stress here is management, and all of the people here in the office are Managers. So it starts right there.

"The Managers focus on the career, and that starts with the basics. Someone walks into the office we talk to them about hair, make-up... all the basics. And then, it's all kinds of things about how to get started - making decisions on which photographers to be promoted to, which clients to see, which magazines...

"And then too, we make decisions about travel - which countries this person would benefit from. All of this stuff is management.

"Calling us in the middle of the night, calling us because of a personal situation, a boyfriend, parent, something happening - management, management, management...

"A personal crisis with a career. We have personal contact everyday, so with each individual - that's what we do. There's so much more terminology to what we do, but I'm not even going to discuss it because each and every person here is a Manager. That is our philosophy, and pushes us forward.

Bart came to IMG ten years ago after nearly eight years elsewhere in the industry. A keen follower of fashion, with a particular interest in high-end editorial, the 41-year-old says IMG gave him the business structure to realize his goal of building a full career.

"After working with other firms, it felt like there was a glass ceiling in terms of building a superstar. At other firms, if someone was interested in writing a book or developing a clothing line - things that go beyond becoming famous - once a person is famous, then what are you going to do?

"We have a publishing division, a licensing division - all these things. I felt, if I were going to build a strong career, there would need to be a structure where I could take them to the other office and introduce them to these people without having to deal with other people.

"Some people really want to be famous and leave this industry having made a lot of money. That's all management decisions: what does the model want to do, what do we do to make that happen?

"And if you get to a point where you represent a Gisele [Bundchen] who maximizes her fame, realizes her potential, generates income and makes opportunities in her own country, that's pretty great from a management standpoint. She's doing top editorials, she's walking runways, she's working for a big company and were still figuring out how to maximize her fame. That's basically it. It's IMG - INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT GROUP - We're management."