I'm An & Other Stories Designer—These 3 High-Street Pieces Always Look Expensive

After one of the most exhilarating London Fashion Week seasons we’ve had in a long while, team Who What Wear UK has just about settled back into our typical fashion-writing routines. Aside from our spring/summer 2024 trend report, which we’re already beginning work on, much of what we saw by way of designer presentations and runway shows won’t directly impact our style or wardrobes until next year. But of all the clothes and accessories we spotted over the five-day spectacle, there was one collection that we can start wearing right now.

Between shows, & Other Stories’ latest Savoir collection—a 16-piece-strong capsule of timeless, elevated pieces—was previewed to fashion editors, stylists and influencers, and it was impressive. Joining the brand’s ateliers to create it was & Other Stories' newly appointed concept designer Frida Billegren, whose impeccable taste and eye for quality is woven throughout this Savoir offering. Being as obsessed with Scandi style as we are (we're constantly on the hunt for items that'll help us embrace their effortless approach to getting dressed), we had high hopes for this collection and Billegren's input. Suffice to say, she did not disappoint.

As well as getting up close and personal with the collection ahead of its launch today, our editor-in-chief Hannah Almassi spent time with Billegren to find out the inspiration behind Savoir, how Scandi girls go about shopping the high street, and the pieces that help her look so damn chic 24/7.

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(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR UK)

& Other Stories concept designer Frida Billegren wears a black jacket and trousers from her new Savoir collection. 

The blank page is a daunting sight for any creative, but Billegren knew precisely where she wanted to start her design journey for this collection. "I wanted to create something that was a bit dark and slightly gothic, but then [counter it] with something opposite; something edgy with something beautiful, like ballet," she says. "Combining the worlds of modern and historical felt important, and was a big part in making the collection feel tailored. [It's a] celebration of the craft of tailoring and design."

It's clear that Billegren seeks attention to detail, not only when designing clothes, but when she invests in new pieces for her own wardrobe. We were curious to learn which high-street items she knows she can rely on to look expensive. "When I buy garments, I'm investing in a product that I'm going to wear for a very long time. So for me, quality and how [something] is made is what I'm looking closely at. And this is what I want [people] to get from this Savoir collection—pieces of high quality."

"A staple piece for me would be a suit. You can wear the suit jacket with denim or a dress. Then the pants you can wear with a T-shirt, shirt or blouse—whichever you prefer. Then, you can wear the full suit! I love to be able to dress up and dress down certain pieces. When collecting [pieces] to have in my own wardrobe, I look for things I can style in many different ways."

Another high-street item she'd struggle to live without? Leather trousers. "It's such a great piece, [especially] for the autumn season. You can wear them to work every day but they'll also work for a party or a dinner," she says. Creating the perfect pair of leather trousers proved to be a cause close to Billegren's heart, as she has included a serious contender for such an accolade in the Savoir collection. "There have been so many wide-leg [leather trousers], and that look is still super trendy, but I wanted to go back a little further, looking maybe at the '80s and early '90s to create a pair that feels [authentically] biker, but making it more tailored and clean; a straight leg that will mould to your body."

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(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR UK)

This little black dress won over every Who What Wear UK editor that saw it at the exclusive London Fashion Week presentation. 

Rounding off her high-street heroes triad? A really, really great dress. "I love finding dresses [to] treasure. Something that you'll wear for years", she confides. "I love to shop old vintage too. That's a big source of inspiration for me when I create, [like] looking at party and cocktail dresses from the '60s and '70s. It might not be so much of a staple but some clothes are art, and I love to buy things that I know I'll keep for the rest of my life."

Now might be the ideal time to draw your attention to the fact that there's a perfect specimen of a little black dress within the collection. It's a mini with a tailored bodice and a flared skirt in the chicest woollen fabric, which we saw styled both on its own and layered over a pretty white blouse at the Savoir unveiling, underlining the piece's versatility and wearability.

Scandi girls are known for their sleek approach to dressing, but how they curate their style on a budget is more elusive. We asked Billegren the burning question: How do Scandi girls set about looking for the right items on the high street? "We like the minimalistic look; the classics and things like wool, denim and jersey. But each season we might look for a new silhouette to try, like low-waisted trousers instead of high-waisted. I love Scandi [style] but I'm also very inspired by rest of the Europe. I don't see myself as dressing typically 'Scandi', but maybe I am—maybe I do!"

Finding expensive-looking items on the high street isn't easy, which is precisely why we spend so much of our time guiding you to the best affordable shopping choices. In addition to fabrics, Billegren takes a closer look at how the high-street clothes she's interested in are made. "I’m like a detective!” she quips. "Everyone should be really critical when [they’re] shopping. If you can, maybe spend a little bit more, but you can definitely find pieces to treasure on the high street. Look at the labels and keep an eye our for natural fibres—that's what I do.”

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(Image credit: WHO WHAT WEAR UK)

Editor-in-chief Hannah Almassi wears a tailored blazer and silver chain-belt styled as a necklace, both of which are from the latest Savoir collection. 

When it comes to looking elevated, the colour of your clothes can play an integral role in the payoff of your look. So which hues does Billegren rely on when she wants to look sophisticated? "Right now I'm really into dark [colours] again. I'm so obsessed with all of these warm, dark tones like burgundy and plum—we designed a beautiful one-shouldered plum dress as part of Savoir," she says. "I also like working with neutrals that are slightly tinted. Look at the fabrics in this capsule and you'll see some are tinted with green, and the greys have [undertones of] purple or lavender."

Between leather that gets better with age, eveningwear that makes getting dressed up a joyful endeavour and tailoring that can elevate in an instant, there's so much to covet from & Other Stories' Savoir collection this autumn. Scroll on to see each and every piece that landed on-site today. 

Shop Frida Billegren's Savoir Picks:

Next Up: The Autumn/Winter 2023 Fashion Trends That Really Matter

Opening Image: @fannyekstrand

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.