The first airplanes were built from fabric stretched across a light weight frame. There were good reasons for this: the frame was easily constructed, and the final contraption was very light weight. When you consider that some of the planes in service at the start of World War I only had 60 horsepower engines (!) then every ounce you saved was critical.
It's interesting to see what's old is potentially suddenly new again, with the fabric covered BMW GINA (Light Visionary Model) concept car:
What's interesting is that the two dynamics that drove early aircraft designers is what motivated the BMW team. Styling changes will be much easier (read: faster and less expensive) because you're changing the frame that carries the fabric, and so retooling is simplified. The fabric is much lighter than polymer (and much lighter than aluminum or, God forbit, steel) and so fuel efficiency and performance will be much higher.
The Safety Nazi in me says that this looks like a death trap, but no doubt the Lads in Munchen have an answer for this. Time will tell.