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Corpuscle recreates elaborate 1920s outfit for Polar Museum

Third year English student Aimee Hallsworth has taken on the challenge to recreate one of the most eccentric and beloved items in the Polar Museum’s collection: Dorothy Irving Bell’s polar-themed party costume.

Dorothy’s self-proclaimed mission in life was to imbue the young with a love of polar exploration. The recreation of the dress will be revealed at the museum’s Polar Textiles: the hidden stories of polar women event on 20 March, where attendees can learn more about her endeavours and try on the replica costume.

“Dorothy was big fan of polar research, the costume was her way of showing her love for polar explorers and sharing her passion with others. The creativity that went into Dorothy’s outfit is crazy! The archivists are a bit baffled by it. She was clearly very creative,” says Aimee, who was thrilled to take up the challenge to recreate the quirky creation.

Aimee had to learn some new skills along the way, including fabric painting. “Although the images of Dorothy wearing the dress show it without writing on it, we believe after the party Dorothy painted the names of all the polar explorers onto the dress and the names of the boats onto ribbons, which I have tried to recreate.”

Whilst at Corpus Aimee has also become part of the theatre scene, helping friends bring their characters to life through making their costumes, and she jumped at the chance to be part of this project.

“I got my first sewing machine when I was 10. I also worked in a haberdashery shop, took a GCSE in Textiles and enjoyed making clothes for myself. However, I opted for a more traditional route through academia studying English, so it has been great to pursue my other interests while studying at Corpus.”

After completing her undergraduate degree at Corpus, Aimee plans to study for a Master’s in Digital Humanities, looking specifically at digitising Tudor letters. We wish her every success and hope she keeps on sewing.

Polar Textiles: the hidden stories of polar women is part of the Cambridge Festival Student Creatives project and takes place the Polar Museum from 14.00 - 15.00 on 20 March.