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Hagley Museum extends exhibition on 75 years of nylon
28
Jan '14
Hagley Museum and Library is extending its latest exhibit, “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon.” This exhibit shows how nylon revolutionized the fashion industry and influenced how people have dressed since its launch in 1938 by the DuPont Company. “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” opened on April 6, 2013, and will run through January 25, 2015.

“Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” celebrates the 75th anniversary of nylon’s introduction to market. On October 27, 1938, a brand new material named nylon was announced to the public. Created in DuPont’s labs, nylon replaced silk in the ladies’ hosiery industry.

Nylon was so popular that its early sales created near riots. The highlight of the exhibit is the early development of nylon and its impact on the fashion industry, but it includes other uses for the discovery such as parachutes, toothbrushes, and carpet.

An Exhibit of Firsts

“Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” highlights “firsts” of this discovery from pure science. Visitors will be able to view the first polyamide fiber sample (basis of nylon) and first souvenir sample of nylon thread, first all-nylon woven fabric, one of the first pairs of stockings manufactured at the Experimental Station, and the first pair of seamless stockings. The first wedding dress made of nylon (1942), first dress made of 100 percent spun nylon (1949), and first nylon football pants will also be on display in addition to other nylon “firsts.”

Fashion Industry Forever Changed

Nylon and other related synthetic fibers made clothing that was durable, washable, stretchable, stain-resistant, and affordable. Visitors can see the first nylon overlay lace dress (1940) and a prototype black nylon nightgown from Vanity Fair (1947). Clothing made from Qiana, a silky nylon fiber that debuted in the late 1960s and influenced fashion of the disco era, will also be displayed.

The first public showing of Qiana women’s fashions appeared at the Paris Haute Couture, and it was seen by millions of Americans on John Travolta in the final dance scene in the film Saturday Night Fever. Featured Qiana items include a Bill Blass Qiana Boudoir Robe (1968-1969), William Travilla Qiana evening gown (1968-1969), Oscar de la Renta Qiana wrap dress (1968-1969), Charles Kleibacker Qiana cocktail dress.

The exhibit is sponsored, in part, by W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., and Lyons Companies.

About Hagley Museum and Library

At Hagley, we invite people of all ages to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology, and innovation, and its impact on the world, from our home at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine.

Hagley Museum and Library

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