Ivan Olita, the man we all would like to be

A typical day in the life of most people is a routine, full of places and ordinary people, the same faces and streets. Not everyone has the luck to wake up and think, "What shall I do today?", "Should I take a flight to New York, or have lunch with my friends in Milan?" Not everyone is Ivan Olita. A creative young man, born in Italy, that once paraded on the catwalks of Valentino and Versace, and then founded his own media agency and production company in Los Angeles.

A character who have been in most of the world capitals of design and met the creative dome of these. In short, the kind of people whose attitude and work, show us how extraordinary a typical day could become.

We interviewed Ivan Olita about how to hobnob with Karl Lagerfeld –and other renowned designers–, start your own production company to interview celebrities like Miley Cyrus, and not die trying.


TCLY: When did you decide that fashion and audiovisual production was what you wanted to do for a living?

Ivan Olita: It’s not an easy answer but when I first got a camera in my hands to shoot a video of a model, I felt this sense of being high, I was literally excited and since then -it was quite a long ago- I enjoy so much the idea that something that what is in your head can become something sharable with an audience. I also enjoy the alchemic side of audiovisual production. There is a transformation going on: it happens through the media you are using, the relationships you are creating with your characters, the strong trust and reliance with your team, the effort you put into the framing of the shot and the post production of the footage. And lastly, the way audience perceives it. It is a constant and total transformation. And it is a collaborative one. It could never happen if I was just by myself, although I need to be the one guiding the team.


One of your first approaches to the fashion world was modeling. How was it to crossover and host events or reporting for the most important fashion media?

I think it was a gradual process. I was a model from 16 to 21, then went into TV and hosted many shows. I had the best time interviewing all my favorite singers and going to concerts’ backstage and so on. I think I was terribly lucky to have such a job while I was studying and going to Fine Art Academy. It was my college-job in a way. And it was simply amazing. One of my first dreams to come true.


During your first years as a model you walked in runways for such brands as Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Valentino and Versace. What do you miss and hate the most about those years?

I didn’t really hate anything! It was really great! It was not easy and we were all young, meaning me and the fellow models around me, but I learned so much and I traveled the world being able to sustain myself economically. You are basically 17 and they put you on a plane by yourself and send you somewhere really far. It was amazing. Solitary, sometimes, but I definitely learned so much from that. I learned how to be able to survive a city, a culture, people, nightlife, business and girls.


In a video for V Magazine, you appear greeting many characters of the dome of the fashion industry. Even Karl Lagerfeld talks about you. How did you meet these big names?

That’s definitely thanks to V Magazine. I have and always had a great relationship with them and they were amongst the first magazines to support me and my ideas in the USA. So, whenever there’s a chance to do something together we both put our best effort to make it happen. We are releasing an amazing new video soon with an incredible A-list personality.

What is your favorite Fashion Week and why?

I really don’t have one. In a way, maybe Milan, just because it’s a nice excuse to come back home and I have a mix of parties, old friends and family time. So, personally I’d say Milan, just 'cause it’s nice to go back once in a while. But in terms of an “objective idea” I think fashion weeks are always unpredictable. So, what was amazing last season could be lame the next one, or the other way around. It really depends on where brands want to invest and where the people you care about will be.


Ivan Olita, Anna Dello Russo, Louis-Marie De Castelbajac, James Ferragamo and Diego di San Giuliano, at the Salvatore Ferragamo show in Milan Menswear Fashion Week FW 2015.

How is a typical day in the life of Ivan Olita?

It really depends on where I am. I tend to adapt to the cities I’m in. The reason why I needed up doing what I do is that very rarely there’s a day similar to the previous one. It all depends on the project I’m working, the people I’m meeting that day - or I met a couple of nights before. And obviously, as said, where I am. I tend to embrace the place and live it to the fullest. In LA, I would eat über-healthy and go to sleep early. In NY, I would go out till very late and sleep very little, running around all day. In Milan, I would have the largest lunch. It really depends… Something that doesn’t change, no matter where I am, is the daily inspirations shared with my team, and the hard work. I work a lot 'cause I love it. And emails… oh, emails... Those are ALWAYS there.


How would you describe your personal style?

Essential and global. I only wear black or white. And everything is from the same -italian- designer.


Your job requires you to travel constantly. What elements can't miss in your luggage?

I live with a luggage. So everything is always with me. I have all I need. Suits, tuxedos, shirt, t-shirts, swimsuits. Everything you can imagine I would need. All black. I also have a rule. Everything I own, and travel with, has to always fit in a carry on. I never check any luggage. If I had to travel with just one item, it would be my leather blazer.

"El Ritual" a short film about the skateboard scene in La Havana, to Nowness.

You're a great lover of photography and constantly uploading photos of your trips to your social networks. How do you think they influence the consumption of audiovisual products nowadays?

They definitely do. I think social media go beyond audiovisual production, they just influence the way we see the world.

I recently watched this Bowie (R.I.P.) interview in where he predicts what’s going to happen 15 years before it happens. He nails the concept of the internet.

You're known for being a good interviewer, because you've met personalities like Miley Cyrus or Stephen Dorff. What is the most embarrassing moment that has happened during an interview?

There are many fun stories but I have to say that they’re never embarrassing. I love to interview people. I think it comes from my TV background. When I interview anyone I always try to be as emphatic as possible - I try to follow their stream of thought. To put myself in their shoes and understand what THEY would like to talk about, not really what OTHER people would like to hear from them. And, you know what? Usually, when you try to understand what talents would like to talk about, they end up giving the most interesting interviews.


Ivan Olita (wearing his leather blazer) and Miley Cyrus.  

One of your greatest professional success has been the creation of your own production agency, Bravò. Tell us, how the idea was born and what have been your favorite audiovisual products?

I’m so proud of BRAVÒ. I founded with my friend Massimo who now is not with us anymore but we are still greatest friends.

We thought that we were young, had all these contacts and could create something different out there.. And so we started it out… Then the agency took over by itself as an entity.  Everyday I wake up and think about how incredible it is. Seriously. We are a friendly, passionate and dedicated team of young guys that want to express themselves and give a specific angle to fashion and internet-content consumption. We travel, we research, we absorb and put all of it into our content. We are SO lucky. I try to remind it to my team every day. We have to do our best. It’s a duty at this point. It’s almost a Karma thing. You cannot be so lucky and privileged being able to share all this beautiful content and not deliver the VERY BEST you possibly can.

A short film of Jimmy Goldstein's life.

Bravò have worked extremely famous personalities such as Kim Kardashian, Mauro Icardi or Nicole Richie. Isn't it a bit surreal seeing them face to face?

Disclaimer needed here, Kim.Guru was a tribute so we didn’t get to meet Kim although I’m sure she loved what we did for her. Generally speaking though, when you work with personalities there’s nothing to be surreal about. The whole relationship is about trust. You want them to trust you in making them look, feel and perceive at their best You want them to feel that you’re an enhancer of their aura and message, not a destroyer. I’m a very constructive person and these certainly applies a lot to my work. I’m there to be a light vessel, to be a multiplier of their energy. And I believe if we do our job right they understand that.


More of Ivan Olita work and his philosophy in his Facebook, Instagram Twitter. Besides BRAVÒ's Instagram and Vimeo.

By Dave Zepeda.

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