Knokke, Belgium

Ironie

Proudly located on Knokke’s Kustlaan – the Belgian seaside town’s high-class shopping stretch – Ironie is a luxury shoe aficionado’s paradise. Owners Sabine Acke and Peter Vleugels make it their mission to be at your service 24/7 and year-round.

EXPLORE COLLECTION

shop ironie

The Boutique

Sabine Acke and Peter Vleugels are partners in life and work, they both have a tremendous passion for high-quality footwear with an exceptional aesthetic. Now boasting a substantial fifteen years in its current guise, Ironie, with its carefully curated offering, is one of the most established luxury retailers in the Benelux. Throughout the years, they managed to build privileged personal relationships with renowned Italian and French luxury fashion houses. Their brand mix contains only the highest level of brands such as Dior, Prada, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Gianvito Rossi and Miu Miu.


Kustlaan 75, 8300 Knokke- Het Zoute
Mon - Sun: 10.00-18.30

The time is ripe for Ironie to go multichannel and to open up to  the global online fashion consumer , which is why we decided to partner up with Carrécouture.

The Team

When and why did you choose to open a boutique in Knokke?
We kind of washed ashore here! Once you arrive, it’s hard to leave. Knokke not only has a chic connotation, to us, it's even more than that. For us, Knokke is a way of being, inspired by the art of living, fueled by a spirit of elegance. From the day we decided to take over and run Ironie together in 2002, we've managed to transform it from a simple, tiny shoe shop into a number one stopover boutique for high-end designer footwear and handbags. We dove into the luxury segment completely because we realise how pivotal it is to position ourselves clearly. Over the years we expanded our business significantly by not only offering the prettiest of shoes but also a wide selection of desirable it-handbags. With limited space in a prime location like this, it made more business sense. Our ultimate goal? To offer the finest in footwear alongside the best of bags.

‘Ironie’ is an unusual name for a shoe store. Why did you name it that and how else is your store different from other ones?

'Irony' is key in the fashion industry. How do you combine the fine art of fashion with the commercial and financial aspect? The challenge lies in finding a balance between offering eclectic and eccentric designs while respecting the economic reality. Combining creativity with commercial viability is a continuous exercise in situational irony.  We distinguish ourselves by positioning ourselves strictly in the 'luxury only' niche market. It's true that the 'Knokkois' environment was a significant element to help build our DNA and identity, the location we have has contributed largely to make our story a success. We were the first to carry Dior in the Benelux – and we’re still the only ones. Afterwards, we expanded our portfolio with other high-end labels like Saint Laurent and Gianvito Rossi, whose first Belgian partner we were as well. So, we would say it’s our selection that sets us apart. We also continuously readjust our buying strategy. Each season, we replace 20% of our offer by something new, things we decide during many prospections. This season, Givenchy is our newcomer. The aim is to offer a balanced selection of established and emerging designers.

How would you describe your typical customer?
Let's say our typical customer is dedicated to good taste and driven by a passion for the finer things in life. Our customer base is extremely varied, it runs from the 'Nanny' to the 'Granny'. One day, we will welcome a healthy 92-year-old lady for a pair of Prada sneakers, the next day we will have a girl, who receives her first Saint Laurent bag for her Sweet Sixteen. We can genuinely say that our customer base reaches a broad audience.

Can you describe the feeling you want a customer to experience when they walk in and browse the store?
We were looking to create something timeless, which at the same time is warm and neutral. The interior is meant to play a supporting role – the shoes are the protagonists. Every three weeks the windows and interior get a complete overhaul. A shoe that has been sitting in the back will get pride of place in the window. We installed a closed-door policy to guarantee our clients a hassle-free environment in which they can quietly choose and try on several styles. By doing this, we aim to create an oasis of peace that allows customers to take their time and make the best possible selection. Aside from that, this enables us to give our undivided attention to each client, which each of them naturally deserves. Especially during Knokke's high season, stores can get overcrowded with tourists and tensions can rise. But, regular customers or not, to us everyone is equally important and will get pampered according to our daily standards. This service is crucial to us. We strive to give each client an unparalleled before and after sales customer service. We are in the store 7/7, as we find it very important to connect with our customer. It is the only way to get to know them, which helps with our buy: to find a compromise between style and comfort. Empathy and authentic helpfulness are essential. We try to think with the customer and be proactive while advising on style: nothing worse than a damsel in distress with a lovely dress and no shoes to pair it with. In short, Ironie offers a seamless and stressless shopping experience in a friendly atmosphere. We will always go the extra mile for each of our customers!
 

The Boutique Collection


See the highlights and curated key pieces from Ironie's collections
The Boutique