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Quality Fabric Of The Month

Flight Of Fashion

Cellulose acetate, which was once used on airplane wings,

By Michelle M. Havich, Associate Editor

M any of today’s top designers are turning to an extremely versatile, wood-pulp-based product to create their hot new styles. This amazing fabric is acetate. One name synonymous with this fabric is Celanese Acetate, New York City.

Celanese Acetate is the world’s leading acetate producer, with yarn-production facilities in Europe and North America.

In The Beginning

Cellulose acetate was first developed by Camille and Henri Dreyfus in 1905. By 1910, it was being used commercially to make films, toilet articles and molded articles. It was also sold to the aircraft industry to coat fabrics on airplane wings and fuselage.

The Dreyfus brothers began producing acetate fibers in 1913, and by 1921 they had developed a dry-spinning technique that allowed the new acetate fibers to be knit and woven for apparel.

Celanese is a word that combines cellulose with a feeling of comfort and ease. It was introduced as a trade name in 1925. At that time, Celanese acetate fabrics were being sold in silk constructions, such as taffeta, satin, ninon, voile and crepe.


Celanese Acetate spokeswoman, Olympic figure skating Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, sports a high-fashion outerwear jacket from Miyuki Tachibana for M. Miller in J.B. Martin’s embossed velvet, constructed with a light water repellency and insulation.

Artificial Silk

Camille Dreyfus introduced modern fiber merchandising to major department stores in 1925. That same year, Celanese acetate was introduced as “Artificial Silk.” Over the years, Celanese acetate has gained popularity, first as a lining fabric for apparel, and today as a sought-after fabric for high-fashion designs.

There are several important features that make Celanese acetate so popular to work with. Celanese acetate is extremely soft and drapeable. Fabrics made with this fiber have a luxurious and supple hand, the company says. It also has performance attributes of natural fiber, such as comfort, absorbency and breathability. But unlike natural fibers, Celanese acetate will not pill or hold static electricity.

Another important feature of Celanese acetate is that it dyes beautifully to produce richly colored fabrics and outstanding prints. It blends well with rayon, cotton, wool, silk, linen, nylon, acrylic, polyester and spandex to create a full range of fabric types, including comfortable knits for contemporary sportswear, woven crepes and gabardines for career dressing, elegant satins, taffetas and velvets.

Celanese acetate is also biodegradable, because it is a cellulosic fiber made of wood pulp and acetic acid.

Wild About Acetate

Celanese Acetate said that today, there is a multitude of versions of the acetate yarn known as Celanese. These fabrics are leaders in daytime and evening high-end apparel, home furnishings, men’s shirting, outerwear and linings fabrics. One new area for Celanese acetate is “fashion tech skiwear.”

Many top designers use Celanese acetate in their designs, including Armani, Anne Klein, Nicole Miller, Liz Claiborne, Betsey Johnson and Badgley Mischka.

A few years ago, Celanese Acetate introduced Olympic figure stating Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi as its official fashion spokeswoman.

January 1999