Textiles: Enter Qiana

Thirty years have passed since chemists at E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. revolutionized the textile industry by introducing a man-made fiber named nylon. Since then, Du Pont has continued to mount an impressive list of synthetic firsts in textile fibers, including Orlon, Dacron and Teflon. Last week at a press preview in Manhattan's First National City Bank Building, the chemical Goliath unveiled its latest unnatural discovery: Qiana. (Pronounced kee-ah-nah.)

Boasting qualities that are superior to the most luxurious silk fabrics, Qiana gives all the appearance of silk—from the luster of its surface yarn to its light weight,...