Ivan Bart shows no signs of slowing down. Which can be a problem if you're trying to follow him through the tents at fashion shows. I had the chance to go backstage with the tour de force during Olympus Fashion Week in New York. Then – and exactly then – did I understand what it is to be managed by the best.
In two very productive hours IMG's Sr. Vice President set me up with six interviews (one of which was Heather Marks' mom – and Heather's not even with IMG in New York), introduced me to Liya Kebede and Jacquetta Wheeler, gave me a full tour and chatted with me during the Carolina Herrera fashion show. During two of the interviews he even interjected with questions of his own. Clearly, he was having fun.
Also obvious was the warmth people feel towards Ivan. There weren't phony, kissy-kissy type greetings you come to expect at these events; but rather enthusiasm from people anxious to share a couple of quick laughs amidst the craziness of fashion week. People – a lot of people – like Ivan. He speaks to people on their level. He knows their individual stories and understands what it takes to make them comfortable.
I asked Ivan if he worries about losing touch. "I think working in this industry I have worked with people and watched them do that. I know that fashion keeps changing and it is a young business."
"I grew up mostly in the 70's and I guess, still we keep reinterpreting the 70's, but those are MY references. Those are the things that interest me."
"Now we're in a generation where everybody seems to be referencing the 80's. Now, I lived through the 80's and I don't think I liked them that much. But it's interesting because a 20 year old looks at the 80's and thinks they're really cool. If I approach it and say "oh, please..." I'm not fresh. So if I don't see something that's interesting to me I'll say to someone younger ‘I don't see it, what do you see?' And I'll learn it."
"I started in this business when I was 22 or 23 and I said that when I'm 30 I'll be done because I'll be burned out."
"Then when I was 30 I said I'd be out of here when I'm 35. And, I stopped saying it because now at 41, I'm still so inspired by this business – I'm so inspired by every new face that comes into my world."
"I'm so inspired by it that it's a wonderful career - it's a wonderful career to facilitate someone else's success and to be a beacon in some way or, not to sound like a megalomaniac, but to really be an intrinsic force in someone's life to make it better."
17 hours after my fashion-week-in-a bottle experience started, I received a taunting e-mail from the head of IMG models. I was back in Toronto, fast asleep when a message found its way into my inbox at 2:38 in the morning:
"You may have also been crushed by your no show @ Marc Jacobs. ALL the Canadian finest were there including: Daria, Stam, Heather, Tasha. Beyonce, Drew Barrymore, Vincent Gallo & Patti Hansen enjoyed the view. The after party was beyond & I just got home. Check out the time! Take note of when I met you & when I will once again return to the venue. Obviously superhuman!!!!!"