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Exploring the Nine Streets district in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s very fashionable Nine Streets district is the style elite’s sartorial secret, as Sally McIlhone discovers

Sally McIlhone,

From the polished designer boutiques of PC Hooftstraat to the department stores and affordable international labels that line Kalverstraat, the shopper in Amsterdam has a wealth of choice. One of the most charming areas is De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets), a collection of narrow passages which traverse the city’s 17th-century canals. Street-style photographer The Sartorialist has snapped stylish locals here and Annie Fitzsimmons, National Geographic’s Urban Insider, has described the area as ‘nine little streets that are big on personality’.

Nine lives

Whether you’re looking for a unique handbag from an up-and-coming Dutch designer, a dazzling piece of costume jewellery or a vintage theatrical item, The Nine Streets are paved with shopping gold. According to Fitzsimmons, ‘While the more casual shopper may breeze through in an hour or two, serious shoppers can spend an entire day (or more) exploring the quaint boutiques and eateries — all with signature Dutch style – down each lane’.

Bagged up

Women looking to update their wardrobes with items from the latest Dutch designers should first head to Hester van Eeghen’s boutiques on Hartenstraat – one is exclusively dedicated to shoes and the other to the designer’s daring range of handbags. Opt for the quirky slanted Klipper Diagonal asymmetrical doctor’s bag, or the directional Felucca in black and purple, with its intricate front fold and handle detail.

A trip to Tony Cohen will solve any eveningwear dilemma. The designer’s autumn/winter collection comprises beautifully draped and textured dresses in rich ice cream shades of chocolate, caramel and strawberry. Knotted silk and laser-cut leather brings traditional gown silhouettes boldly into the 21st century.

Jean genius

Dutch denim brand Denham celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. In celebration, alongside its razor- sharp jeans, the brand is selling the limited edition Denham 5 Year Anniversary Book, which charts the company’s rise. Seek out Denham’s women’s store on Runstraat and the men’s store just around the corner on Prinsengraacht.

Fine vintage

If you prefer garments with history, The Nine Streets has a raft of luxurious vintage boutiques. Visit Laura Dols for embroidered scarves, colour-pop leather gloves and chic berets, Episode for the best in clothing from the 1960s and 70s, and Mauve for collectable gowns with a healthy dose of drama – many of the dresses on display are carefully preserved antique theatre costumes. Add the perfect embellishments to your look with jewellery from BLGK Edelsmeden, Gem Kingdom, Parisienne or Pretty Rings – all stock jewel-laden accoutrements ranging from antique coral bracelets to cocktail rings and chainmail- inspired necklaces.

Perfect fit

Wolvenstraat is the hub for men’s fashion in The Nine Streets. Those looking for impeccable shirting should visit Vittorio Marchesi for a vivid spectrum of colours and patterns. Men with an eye for dynamic design will be thrilled by the selection of items at Bendorff, a fashion-forward boutique with jackets by J Lindberg, Lyle & Scott knitwear and retro Casio watches. The store also stocks footwear by Sir Max, Edward Green and Ludwig Reiter alongside its own shoehorns and hand-crafted umbrellas. Before visiting one of the area’s cocktail bars, men in need of a haircut or shave can pop in to Haar Barbaar in the heart of the area.

The coming of Karl

International favourites such as Acne, Filippa K and Cos are all represented in this chic shopping hideaway and even Karl Lagerfeld, fashion’s most celebrated modern maestro, has seen the potential of The Nine Streets having opened his most recent concept store here. Located on Hartenstraat, at the northern end of the district, the store is one of the first outside of Paris to roll out the designer’s new venture. Pier Paolo Righi, CEO of Karl Lagerfeld, says that the area fits perfectly with ‘the cool and vibrant feel of our brand’.

With such an abundance of retail opportunities available to visitors, it’s no surprise that Condé Nast Traveller has highlighted this charming area. Having named Amsterdam as a Top 2013 Holiday Destination to Watch, the magazine gave The Nine Streets a special mention. ‘No longer down at heel, there are some excellent quirky boutiques and vintage shops to be found along its Nine Streets.’ We wholeheartedly agree.



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