logo

TPO: Making it work on the red carpet

By: Rhoda Miel

January 29, 2014

DETROIT — It may not be quite ready for the fashion runways in Paris and New York, but Inteva Products LLC's slush molded thermoplastic polyolefin has broken through in Detroit.

For the charity preview at this year's North American International Auto Show on Jan. 17, designer Janna Coumoundouros used a roll of Inteva's TPO – used as a skin material for cars' instrumental panels and door panels -- to create three dresses, with two of them worn on the red carpet.

"I enjoy taking unusual materials and making something new," Coumoundouros said in a Jan. 22 news release from Troy, Mich.-based Inteva. "I experimented with steaming it to get curls and curves, and I even put it into the dishwasher. It came out pretty soggy, so then I had to put it in the dryer.

"Ultimately, the curls relaxed to curves that I could work with."

(While auto materials have to undergo a series of weatherability tests, automakers haven't yet required them to go through a dishwasher.)

Inteva's TPO was combined with seat belt material on one dress, used as a "flower" flourish at the top.

Coumoundouros wore another of her dresses herself on the red carpet.

The event wasn't the first time Inteva has combined fashion and TPO. When it first introduced the material, Vice President Pat Stewart had it made into a vest to show its flexibility and versatility.