Inside Arc - an archive of wonder



Highlights from one of fashion’s greatest archives emerge from their Hackney home to take up temporary residence at LCF’s Fashion Space Gallery.

The Arc, launched two years by San Francisco designer Jennifer Osterhoudt and stylist Nick Royal, is legendary amongst students for rarely seen iconic pieces from, in particular, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

Inside Arc showcases the archive’s eccentricities and rarities, presenting elaborate toiles in luxurious fabrics to reveal the complex and labour-intensive techniques used by high fashion, alongside rare handmade invitations, personal items sourced from charity shops and 100 backstage passes from Jennefer’s 100 shows alongside images of her own vast shoe collection.

Osterhoudt lived, worked and partied with John Galliano and Alexander McQueen during the 90s and early 00s, both while they worked at their own studios and later, in the couture ateliers of Givenchy. “They both loved old garments and really studied them,” she told Another Magazinewhen the archive launched.

“I would spend a lot of private time with them, too, because I lived with both of them at various points. Lee was a bit more social and would love to hang out at Café Cox on Rue des Archives and be a normal person. John was a complete fantasist and lived in his own world.

“I remember one time I got home when he was staying with me and he was cleaning the house in my stilettos, a little French apron and short shorts, with a bandana around his head. And he was just home alone, keeping himself entertained.”

Today, she says, she is proud the collection is no longer sitting silently in storage but on display as an invaluable resource for those who care about fashion creation at its very nub. “This collection is my work and my identity – I have always been a hoarder of fashion items and get a thrill out of coming across an Alaïa or Chanel piece in a charity shop.

“I always brought my treasured finds from San Francisco back to Paris and London and shared them with Galliano, McQueen and the other designers I’ve worked alongside as inspiration. I think, to them, it was really valuable to be able to see the real American culture that they had no access to.”

On June 19th, participants will be able to join Jennefer as she talks through the selection, giving behind the scenes insight and allowing a unique peek into the production processes and of some of fashion’s greatest couture houses.

Book tickets here:

Till July 28th. Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s Street, London, W1G 0BJ

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