updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Not since Scarlett O'Hara made a dress out of curtains has the draped look been so big. Today's designers are bunching up fabric to create eye-catching gathers, which "can make a simple dress look more special," says Hollywood fashion stylist Jessica Paster. "If they fall right, they're about looking and feeling like an ethereal goddess." Agrees actress Halle Berry: "I love wearing gathers because they're new, fun and sexy."
Gathered gowns and necklines are all the rage among such stars as Marisa Tomei (Slums of Beverly Hills) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween: H20), who was divinely draped for her recent movie premiere. "Draping adds softness and femininity to something modern," says designer Pamela Dennis, who outfitted Curtis. Yet the reason gathers are hip may be how they camouflage hips. Gathering "across the midriff covers up any rolls," says designer Nicole Miller. "It makes you look slimmer."
with Steven Cojocaru in Los Angeles and Jennifer Longley in New York City