Philippe Vergne, Hermes Model? LA MOCA Director Raises Eyebrows With Catwalk Turn

The fashion catwalk has a new star. And that star is… drum-roll please… Philippe Vergne, esteemed director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles.

On March 9, luxury fashion brand Hermès took over a warehouse next to the train tracks in downtown LA, and Vergne joined models for a turn on the runway, clad in a black top and neatly creased slacks, with a brown leather jacket and black sandals.

The French fashion house purportedly drew on the LA art scene for inspiration for the collection and the runway show, which cost $7 million to produce, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Graffiti-covered walls served as a colorful backdrop to the main event, which brought the brand’s spring 2017 menswear collection, first unveiled in Paris last June, to the West Coast.

Sylvia Chivaratanond and Philippe Vergne. Courtesy of David Crotty/Patrick McMullan.

Sylvia Chivaratanond and Philippe Vergne. Courtesy of David Crotty/Patrick McMullan.

In the audience, celebrities such as chef Bobby Flay and actress Dita von Teese were joined by Michael Govan, head of LACMA. But it was Vergne who stole the show by giving the crowd his best Derek Zoolander.

Joining the museum director in turning model for the evening was Roman Alonso, a partner in LA design firm Commune Design. Following the fashion show, guests were treated to a performance by the Cold War Kids.

Philippe Vergne walks the runway at the Hermes: Dwtwn Men - s/s17 Runway Show on March 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Philippe Vergne walks the runway at the Hermes: Dwtwn Men – s/s17 Runway Show on March 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Named to his current post in January 2014, Vergne is credited with righting the ship at MOCA after the controversial, short-lived directorship of power dealer Jeffery Deitch. Considering that Deitch was highly criticized for valuing celebrity over scholarship, Vergne’s light-hearted turn is something of a statement.

It still doesn’t quite compare to our other vote for most improbable pop-culture cameo by a big shot curator. That would be Jens Hoffmann’s 2013 commercial for Lexus.

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