Nylon has a new feel – fashion archive, 13 March 1959 – The Guardian

By on March 14, 2019

It was in 1938 that a minor announcement on the back pages of newspapers announced “a new synthetic yarn especially suitable for ladies’ fully fashioned hose and understood to have great strength and elasticity.”

Twenty-one years later a brisk tour of the stands of the National Nylon Trade Fair at the Albert Hall reveals in addition to ladies’ fully fashioned hose, furs, carpets, foundation garments, coloured sheets, curtains, upholstery cloth, men’s and women’s sweaters of every conceivable weight and texture, coloured raincoats for men and heavy sober ones, and any number of the new stretch nylon tights to be worn under a skirt. These, once limited to ballet dancers and later to ski-ers, have more recently entered the fantasy leisure wear wardrobes of fashion-conscious girls.

According to a man who makes them, they are about to break new ground. “I don’t suppose they’d ever have got to the ordinary woman at a price she’d want to pay if it hadn’t been for nylon,” he said. “Well, they wouldn’t cling, would they?” Come to think of it, perhaps they wouldn’t. “And mark my word,” he added, “next winter the mums will be wearing them to do odd jobs about the house.”

A woman with a nylon straw hat poses for photographers at Ascot, 1956.

A woman with a nylon straw hat poses for photographers at Ascot, 1956. Photograph: Harrison/Topical/Getty Images

We have been accustomed for some years to seeing nylon looking like almost anything, like cashmere for instance or ocelot. But perhaps the most noticeable recent development is that it now feels like all these things, thanks to the bulked or textured yarns, processed in a way that allows pockets of air to circulate around the fibres. Garments made of them are sold under such brand names as Ban-lon, Taslan, Agilon, Helanca, and to the usual qualities of nylon they have added increased warmth, softness to the touch, and in some cases elasticity.

We used to bless nylon stockings and wish they were warmer; then they were, and there doesn’t seem much that can be new about them any longer. Even the perforated piece under the arch of the foot, now introduced by one firm, doesn’t strike a really new note, nor the open flat seam under the foot, since in order to avoid it many of us have taken happily to seamless. But there is something new in Agilon stockings: they are now made in 9-denier, the finest ever, and softer and warmer to the touch.

We used to wish that nylon blouses and slips were not transparent and were more comforting in winter. That was put right a long time ago. But it is doubtful if pure nylon is quite so sympathetic as the fabric called Chrysalon, now shown for the first time, and made of 86 percent nylon and the rest silk.

Family with the laundry circa 1950.

Family with the laundry circa 1950. Photograph: Science & Society Picture Librar/SSPL via Getty Images

More recently we used to say of nylon sheets, “If only they weren’t so cold to get into.” And here they are now, a hundred percent nylon and reversible, with a fleecy side for the winter and the smooth, cool side for summer. These are already in the shops.

The first nylon blanket ever is being shown. It has been made experimentally from a new yarn still unnamed, and seems agreeably soft and fleecy. Nobody can forecast when or if it will be produced on a commercial scale.

The fashion news at the fair is of the new British nylon and wool mixture cloth which had such a success in the French and Italian collections, from which several models are being shown in the fashion parades at the Albert Hall. Designed by Niki Sekers, it is woven in the pattern of a cellular blanket or the cane seat of a chair, and a variety of effects can be achieved by the use of coloured underlining fabrics. It is an obliging and attractive fabric destined, perhaps, to play a big part in our lives.

There are many of us who still hanker after the natural yarns such as silk, cotton, and wool. Their combination with nylon can do nothing but good.

Source Article from https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/mar/13/nylon-has-a-new-feel-fashion-archive-1959
Nylon has a new feel – fashion archive, 13 March 1959 – The Guardian
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