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The Harris acquires Preston designer Ross Griffith’s iconic Rose Dress

Posted on - 7th December, 2023 - 1:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston News
A new addition to the textile collection at the Harris

The Harris museum has acquired the iconic Rose Dress by local designer Ross Griffiths.

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The Preston-born fashion designer is known for his label Kingfisher Couture.

The unique addition to The Harris Fashion & Textile collection was purchased with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

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Griffiths found inspiration in The Harris’ fashion and textile displays during his visits with his mother while growing up in Chorley.

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After going down the route of other careers, he decided to follow his passion for fashion and founded Kingfisher Couture.

The Rose Dress is said to symbolise growth, reflecting Ross’s own journey in the fashion industry.

The thornless rose motif on the dress signifies rebirth and the designer’s journey of overcoming addiction and homelessness, with his HIV diagnosis being a turning point.

The acquisition also holds a connection to Sir Brian May from Queen, as Ross dressed Lady Anita Dobson for the This is Icon Awards Gala in February 2023 where Ross received his own accolade as winner of the 2023 Emerging Designer Award.

Ross Griffiths, Kingfisher Couture Fashion Designer said: “I wouldn’t say it’s time … because it’s been time to be authentic for years, but … I insist on being my true authentic self and nothing less with my own unapologetic personal style.”

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The Harris, which is currently undergoing a £16m Heritage Lottery Funded regeneration project known as Harris Your Place, will display the Rose Dress in the Ground Floor Rotunda. The museum is due to re-open during 2025.

Ross Griffiths has also match-donated the purchase by offering his outfit he wore to receive the This is Icon Emerging Designer Award in February 2023.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council, said: “The addition of the Rose Dress to the Harris’ collection exemplifies our city’s commitment to embracing diversity, creativity, and the arts.

“It serves as a symbol of inspiration for our community, highlighting the talent and resilience of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

“We are grateful for the V&A Purchase Grant Fund’s support and look forward to celebrating this remarkable addition to our cultural heritage.”

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