A recent trip to Amsterdam took me to ‘De Negen Straatjes’ or ‘The Nine Streets’, actually three streets, intersected by two canals, which are lined with charming independent boutiques. The idea of the ‘concept store’ has really taken off in Amsterdam, and each clothing store is carefully curated like a gallery, but with the added bonus of the visitor being allowed to play with the items on display.
My favourite was The Darling, a delightful shop on Runstraat 4. Walking into The Darling made me feel as though I was entering the enviable walk-in-wardrobe of a good friend. The clothes are beautifully displayed, the walls are covered in small prints and there are hydrangeas in vases. Best of all, you can order a cupcake and cup of coffee and sit on their upstairs balcony, if you need need a break from browsing.
The Darling sell a range of simple pieces in elegant fabrics – new, vintage and own brand items. Their underwear particularly caught my eye, but the item I had to buy was the ‘Darling’ jumper. I don’t know if it was the connotation of the word ‘darling’ in English – it always seems to me slightly tongue in cheek, and makes me delightedly think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in which everyone she meets is ‘Darling’ – ‘Step on it darling….’.
I wanted to do a photo with the Cyclamen flowers, as they are looking wonderful at the moment in white and purple. These perennial flowering plants are so dainty, and also strong. This species, Cyclamen hederifolium is native to the UK and pushes it’s way up through the soil during the Autumn. The nose of the flower faces downwards, the five upright petals look almost like little wings and they have dark green, patterned ivy-esque leaves. Coming across clusters of these little flowers at High Beeches garden, growing under the dark cedar tree (cedrus atlantica glauca) you might almost think you had wandered into an enchanted forest. A perfect setting for a photograph with my new The Darling jumper <3.
Photographed at High Beeches Garden sitting under the Cedrus atlantica Glauca tree among the Cyclamen flowers.
Photographer: Sarah Bray @
Photographs of The Darling in Amsterdam, taken by Alice Bray