According to the November 1969 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine, Qiana — for years before its debut, covertly called “Fiber Y” — was developed at a cost of $75 million.
“Chemists and scientists working on the project were forbidden to discuss it with outsiders or even other du Pont employees,” the magazine noted.
“Combining a sense of precaution with a flair for publicity, Du Pont introduced Qiana in 1968 by having models wearing garments made from the fabric closely watched by armed guards to prevent anyone from snipping off a sample.”
Newsy moves like that, combined with the support of major fashion designers, helped make the fiber a success.
“Geoffrey Beene, Christian Dior and other leading designers titillated the fashion world in the late 1960s with elegant, silk-like costumes made from a synthetic material called Qiana. Qiana clothes were promoted heavily at better stores,” reported The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware on October 23, 1983.
“An advertising blitz touted the virtues. And all well-dressed people were expected to embrace wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant clothes made from the expensive nylon with the funny name.”
By the early 1970s, Qiana fibers were woven into blouses, dresses, lingerie, neckties, men’s shirts, pajamas, and into fabric at home sewing stores.
But it was not to last. By late 1983, the bloom was off the Qiana rose as people started choosing more natural fibers, like cotton, wool and real silk.
It also faced competition from Asian manufacturers, and even had to face challenges from Du Pont’s own Dacron polyester fiber.
As the News-Journal wrote, “Qiana was a trend. Now it isn’t,” says Jan C. Maclatchie, a spokeswoman for Nan Duskin, the exclusive women’s clothing store in Philadelphia. “Designers are simply not favoring it any more,” she says.
“I think it has everything to do with fashion… It certainly is not on the scene at this point, and silk is.”
Colorful vintage Qiana nylon dress (1971)
A sunny print dress like this pretty smocked-bodice creation by Oscar de la Renta for his Boutique. It has a gently gathered shirt, and comes with its own grosgrain belt with a cluster of flowers (not shown). In Qiana jersey, about $165.
White Qiana turtleneck dress (1973)
All covered up except for an occasional glimpse of skin, Miss King is ushered into Radio City Music Hall in a long, sensuous dress.
Sleeveless but high-turtle-necked, her slinky bias-cut pink jersey is Grecian-tied simply gathered. The gown, of “Qiana” nylon, is topped with a contrasting red trailing cardigan coat.
The outfit, created by black designer Jon Haggins for Stella Fagin, makes for a discreet evening mood.
Stylish vintage clothes – Qiana nylon shirts for men (1977)
It costs a little more. But what luxury doesn’t.
A shirt of “Qiana” is more than a shirt — it’s a sensory experience. Because Qiana nylon feels sensational next to the skin. Superbly light. Elegant. Pure pleasure to wear.
And so luxurious you’d never suspect it’s practical. Experience its pleasure. Now.
Du Pont registered trademark. Du Pont makes fibers, not fabrics or fashions.
Qiana fashions for women (1978)
“Qiana”. It’s a most fabulous feeling to touch and wear. Wear it and marvel that luxury like this can be practical, too.
Shown: Jerry Silverman’s holiday dressing, satin-tied jersey of Qiana nylon.
Vintage Qiana by DuPont (1975)
The Quiana Look. If you love the luxury of silk. But insist on easy care.
Yes. you can make all these beautiful clothes yourself with fine fabrics of Qiana nylon and Vogue Designer Patterns. Vogue Patterns shown: (featured in pink) #1228; Top left #1223; Bottom left #1233.
The joy of clothing: The Qiana Spring at JCPenney (1978)
Scarfed: A gently-gathered Qiana nylon blouse comes with a little ruffled scarf to flaunt. $18
Softened: Palest blossom color softens a classic cap-sleeve blouse and easy-front pocket skirt of Qiana. Very easily priced. Blouse $14. Skirt $14.
Qiana dress: Nylon clothing from 1978
Qiana. It’s a most fabulous feeling to touch and to wear. Wear it and marvel that luxury like this can be practical, too.
Shown: Suit dressing by Nardis. Easy and totally relaxed, in a new sueded Qiana nylon.