Summer's Draping Trend Will Turn You Into a Modern Muse

Ready to channel your inner Aphrodite?

Collage of model wearing black draped dress, pink draped dress, gray draped dress, blue draped dress and white sculptures
(Image credit: Future)

The archetype of a fashion girl varies, but you can typically break it down by geography. New York’s woman is forever on the go in head-to-toe black, while California’s operates at half the pace and lives in breezy boho style. And according to the summer 2023 trend report, there’s a new gal on the scene: Meet the Grecian girl, who has the appeal of Aphrodite and masters the draping trend with ease.

In the Pre-Fall 2023 collections, we saw liquid-like ruching from Bottega Veneta and swooping cowlnecks and capelets at Blumarine and Givenchy. Valentino even answered the question of what a modern working goddess would wear into the office: a collared shirtdress that flows into a wrapped waist—2023's corporate-approved take on the toga.

But summer’s draping trend is more than just an ephemeral fad. As designer Norma Kamali shares with Marie Claire, “draping is an art form in making clothing," similar to the majestic sculptures from the Hellenistic Period that depict goddesses in impossibly fluid gowns. Kamali’s iconic draped Diana dress—which debuted in the 1970s and has remained a cult classic since—is quintessential of her masterful work with the technique. "The Diana is as classic as the simplicity of the silhouettes of ancient Greece," she describes.

New York-based designer Marina Moscone adopts a similar sculptural approach when crafting her highly-lauded draped pieces, which include sarong-style dresses and multi-pleat trousers. “For me, draping explores the relationship between fabric and silhouette, married with the craftsmanship of a garment,” she describes. “I am very tactile from start to finish of every collection: I develop all my fabrics selectively in Italy, and from there, focus on the manipulation of these fabrics." Despite the laidback ease it connotes, draping is deliberate and intentional on the designer's part. But for you, dear reader, it can actually be that simple.

Ahead, shop our curated edit of best draped clothing for summer 2023, from relaxed summer dresses to flowing palazzo pants to maxi skirts.

Draped Maxi Dresses

A floor-grazing maxi is an ideal place to start with the draping trend. The long style is easy and breezy, characteristics that naturally lend themselves to the goddess-inspired trend.

"I really gravitate towards this ongoing tension between masculine and feminine in my collections, and draping allows me to experiment with this and push the realms of possibility in a design," describes Moscone. "My signature twist dress"—included below in black—"paired with an architecturally tailored blazer embraces this essence."

Draped Midi Dresses

Tap into your inner Athena this summer with a draped midi dress. How to style the mid-length number? With gladiator sandals, of course.

Draped Mini Dresses

Surprise, surprise: now we've arrived at mini hemlines. Styles from Sea and MANNING CARTELL keep with the Hellenistic theme, while more casual t-shirt or button-up iterations from H&M and Vince show the accessible versatility of the draped look.

Draped Tops

With a draped top, you have an opportunity to play with a clash of aesthetics via your bottom half. For instance, team a disco-ready cami like Loewe's with a pair of cargo pants for an unexpected utilitarian blend, or pair Reformation's silk top with tailored shorts to balance romance with prep. 

Draped Skirts

Regardless of the silhouette you chose for your draped skirt—either mini, midi, or maxi—the end result is the same: sartorial nonchalance with an artistic twist. For those who want to kick it up a notch even furter: Asymmetric draped appliques like those on The Attico's mini skirt offer extra drama and detail, turning you into a modern muse.

Draped Pants

Draped pants range in look and vibe. You have more tailored options—like Everlane and Ottolinger's—which play with suiting style codes. But there are also more laidback styles—DIARRABLU's palazzo, Michelle Mason's paper-bag waist trousers, etc.—that offer a more free-flowing look and feel.

Meet the Fashion Experts

Marina Moscone
Marina Moscone

Marina Moscone is the Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of Marina Moscone. The brand was founded in New York in 2016 by sisters Marina and Francesca Moscone and is an artful luxury brand defined by impeccable tailoring and abstract draping, embracing an understated elegant sensibility with artisanal touches. Marina gravitates towards a tactile approach, draping and twisting fabrics by hand in her New York atelier and with master tailors in Italy, creating a subtle tension between the masculine and the feminine in each collection. 

Norma Kamali
Norma Kamali

Norma Kamali has been in business for 56 years. Her designs are ever-relevant and timeless. She is credited with fashion innovations such as the sleeping bag coat, an early sweats athleisure lifestyle line, globally influential swimwear, and easy-care jersey knitwear. Her collections from the seventies to today are meant to be for joy and that always includes all genders.

Emma Childs
Style Editor

Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").