Teflon-treated Max Mara and Prada outfits.

Athletes and cooks were among the first to buy into DuPont's Teflon, and now Invista, the licensed marketer of DuPont Teflon fabric protector, is eager to woo the fashion crowd.

NEW YORK — Athletes and cooks were among the first to buy into DuPont’s Teflon, and now Invista, the licensed marketer of DuPont Teflon fabric protector, is eager to woo the fashion crowd.

Guests attending a Teflon presentation last week were greeted by pairings of mannequins, including one set decked out in Teflon-treated clothes by Max Mara and Prada. Visitors could put the product to the test by staining white T-shirts with soy sauce, ketchup and coffee, and then rinsing them.

There also was an introduction to Ultra-Release Teflon, the newest version that is said to provide the deep-cleaning release of everyday stains like grass and dirt, and reduce graying after repeated washings. The protector is designed to give the fabric a soft hand and breathability.

With the exception of a Cintas division that makes uniforms and a number of mills in Asia, Ultra-Release Teflon is not yet being widely used.

Brian Cashman, lead engineer for L.L. Bean, said he was impressed by the suggestion that Ultra Release Teflon can withstand 30 washings.

“That’s a good level of performance,” he said. “We’ll test it out in our lab.”

Yeohlee Teng told the audience how she first infused Teflon into her urban nomad collection geared for women who travel globally and have little time to change into different outfits. She also saw it as a way to encourage women to wear white, since it provides added durability.

Old Toledo Brands, a $25 million New York-based operation, has been using Teflon in its denim for five years, said Marc Kaufman, chief executive officer.

“It’s very difficult because of the washings and stonewashings used in fashion denim,” Kaufman said. “We kind of stumbled upon it.”

Gesturing toward a display of Teflon-treated designer outfits, Huw Williams, global business director for textile effects, said, “If it’s good enough for workwear, it’s good enough for Max Mara and Prada.”

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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