Ivan Bart, the former president of IMG Models who helped launch the modeling careers of the likes of Lauren Hutton, Carolyn Murphy, Stephanie Seymour and Gigi and Bella Hadid, died over the weekend following a short illness. He was 60.
The news was posted on his official Instagram account with a black-and-white photo of Bart. A caption on the photo reads, “Our world has lost one of the greats. Ivan Bart, 1963-2023.” No other details were immediately available.
He was named president of the agency in 2014, after it merged with WME. Under Bart’s leadership, IMG Models also built the careers of Hailey Bieber, Alton Mason, Wisdom Kaye and others.
Throughout his career, Bart championed diverse casting and inclusion and is credited with breaking down barriers for models including Alek Wek, Hari Nef, Precious Lee, Zach Miko, Quannah Chasinghorse and Paloma Elsesser.
He also was a supporter of plus-size models. In 2014, after Ford Models closed its plus-size division, IMG signed Ashley Graham and other plus-size models who had been dropped by Ford. Earlier this year, three of the agency’s plus-size models — Jill Kortleve, Lee and Elsesser — graced the April 2023 cover of British Vogue.
Fashion designers (including Zac Posen and Christian Cowan), models (Shanina Shaik, Karen Elson), stylist,s and celebrity makeup artists and hairstylists were among those posting condolences on Bart’s Instagram page, many of them in shock at the news. “Heartbreaking,” wrote makeup artist Pat McGrath. “Love you Ivan,” posted Bieber. “I love you Ivan. Have a gentle rest — you beautiful, tenacious, groundbreaking soul. Our hearts are breaking over and over,” wrote Elsesser. Added Rachel Zoe, “I have known and loved Ivan since the day I started in the industry. We have lost the best of the best.”
In a statement, Endeavor president and COO Mark Shapiro called Bart “a trailblazer in the fashion industry.”
“During the course of three decades at IMG Models, Ivan quite literally changed the shape and face of the modeling industry from within,” Shapiro shared. “His relentless pursuit for diversity and inclusion challenged fashion’s gatekeepers and created household names whose omnipresence has inspired generations. I literally sat beside him at a table with the former management team at Victoria’s Secret while he politely argued that they had to change their annual runway television special and diversify their models — size, age, race, and background. He was the voice before there was a voice. He was courageous. He saw beauty in all its forms.”