DUPOMNT’S SPRING BREAK

Byline: Stuart Chirls

NEW YORK — It was one of the first spring-like evenings of the year when DuPont threw a party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Monday night promoting its Tactel nylon as a fiber for all seasons and all types of products.
The party also helped open the Costume Institute’s “Four Seasons” apparel exhibition.
More than 300 guests, including textile and apparel manufacturing executives, filled the museum’s vast lobby for cocktails. Outside of the museum, the party-goers were greeted by a troupe of activewear models clinging to the building’s massive columns, while inside they viewed a bevy of mannequins clad in everything from intimate apparel to eveningwear, hosiery, ready-to-wear and outerwear, all using Tactel fibers.
While polyester’s emergence in designer lines has grabbed the lion’s share of fashion headlines recently, the bash was meant to put Tactel front and center in the minds of textile and apparel manufacturers as a versatile fashion fiber.
Meanwhile, Bob Pruyn, business director of apparel for DuPont nylon North America, beamed over the performance of nylon generally. “We are way ahead of plan, up 15 to 20 percent compared to this time last year,” he told WWD. “Everything has been strong: hosiery, warpknits, swim. It’s a rare time when all segments are doing well.”
DuPont is in the midst of a massive restructuring of its nylon infrastructure, which will reduce costs, increase operating efficiencies and boost the company’s nylon capacity 25 percent by 2000.
He also noted that the prices of raw materials, which started escalating early this year and hurt DuPont’s nylon balance sheet in the first quarter, have been moderating of late. “We held our prices because we knew the situation was short-term,” he said.
Downstairs, visitors reviewed the Costume Institute’s displays set behind glass, including pieces from Balenciaga, Donna Karan, Dries Van Noten, Calvin Klein and Halston, to name a few. There was American Colonial-era garb, and even a tunic from the 1600s, looking as remarkably fresh and new as the day it was made. “It hasn’t been to the dry cleaners yet,” snipped one guest.

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