The Chic List: I’m ready to reveal my back story

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on her love of backless dresses.

It’s not every evening you’re out enjoying dinner when a genuine Hollywood superstar slips into an adjacent table – along with her ex and his new blonde wife.

But this is what happened at Paris’s legendary Brasserie Lipp. Drew Barrymore, who was also accompanied by her two young daughters and their nanny, then proceeded to sip a glass of Stella Artois and eat the orange Tic Tacs she’d placed defiantly in the centre of her table.

Drew is a fan of conscious uncoupling – the long version. She split with her ex Will Kopelman in 2016 but says of the woman he went on to marry that ‘I feel like I’ve won the lottery’ because they all get on so well.

Dressed in a puff-sleeved white and yellow maxi dress, with a rock-stud Valentino flap bag to carry her Tic Tacs, Drew inadvertently sets the theme for Paris right now: do and wear what the hell you want.

For my own three-day trip – temperatures blissfully hit 30 degrees – I went with backless dresses big time

Backless in Paris: Dress by La Collection, Bag by Saint Laurent

I packed my two favourite white ones by Anine Bing and La Collection to waft around in and for drinking lunchtime rosé by the Seine. And a black one from Cos for bistro dinners – and to sit beside Drew, it turned out.

Why backless? Because I don’t have a huge cleavage, I like to look all business at the front, party at the back.

There’s something timelessly elegant about the backless look – to me it feels like the material version of balmy, carefree summer nights. The only time I ever go braless is for a backless dress.

What else did I discover on my trip? An exciting new eco-friendly and super-stylish brand called Icicle, which already has two stores in Paris and is planning on launching in Britain soon. Born in Shanghai, but employing French designers, the brand’s rails are full of soft, wafty organic materials and original pieces.

Meanwhile, the luxury market in Paris is enjoying a massive post-Covid boom. It’s not just fuelled by the American tourists who have the majority of bums on bistro seats – the whole city feels like a giant Emily in Paris set – but locals and shoppers from every corner of the globe.

The downside? You’re now expected to queue on the pavement for up to half an hour for the honour of even being permitted inside the hallowed interiors of Chanel, Hermès, Givenchy or Saint Laurent.

What’s on sale? Don’t ask me. If stores want our custom they should welcome us inside – no matter how busy – not use us as pawns in a public relations game of trying to make their brands seem even more desirable.

Like I said, summer in Paris 2022: it’s all about doing what you want.


Then give your denim an overhaul with embroidered motifs. Not handy with a needle but still love this key summer look? Vheck out this 7 For All Mankind jacket, £280, which is on sale at its Regent Street Store, London W1.


Rixo’s vintage- inspired jewellery collection has just launched. Featuring nine bold gold-plated pieces, I’m loving this statement amethyst glass ring, £65,


i’m thinking Gwyneth Paltrow in Great Expectations. A-lined, ankle-skimming and great with an oversized shirt, the maxi skirt is back. and this one, £49.99 from, is perfect.


My go-to luxury brand right now is Saint Laurent. And I’m not the only one loving its Parisian aesthetic. With the fashion house’s shoes and ready-to-wear collections selling like hot cakes, it’s well on the way to doubling sales in the medium term to five billion euros

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