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 365 days a year, 7/7. In this way you can choose freely when to enjoy their undiluted pleasurable shopping experience.

The Boutique

Sabine Acke and Peter Vleugels are partners in life and work with a tremendous passion for shoes of exceptional quality and style. Now boasting over almost 20 years in its current guise, Ironie, with its carefully curated offering, is one of the most established luxury retailers in the Benelux. Through the years they managed to build priviledged personal relationships with the main Italian and French luxury houses. Their current brand mix policy is restricted to high-level brands only such as Dior, Prada, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Aquazzura, Gianvito Rossi and Miu Miu.

Proud partner of Quintessentially Luxury Lifestyle Management & Concierge Services.

Kustlaan 75, 8300 Knokke- Het Zoute ,
Mon - Sun: 10.00 - 18.30, private shopping by appointment.

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, it’s more than that: it’s a way of being, inspired by the art of living and fueled by a spirit of elegance“. Starting from the day Peter and Sabine took over Ironie in 2002 and decided to run it together, they transformed it from a simple, tiny little shoeshop into a #1 stopover boutique for high-end designer shoes and bags, focussing and positioning its level radically toward luxury.

“We dove into the luxury segment completely as it is really important to position oneselves clearly. Over the years we also substantially expanded our offering, not only presenting pretty shoes but also a wide selection of desireable handbags. With a limited space in a prime location like this, this 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?

We named it such because Irony is key in the fashion business. How to combine the fine art of fashion with finance? Many designers are - or desire to be - eclectic eccentrics, presenting sometimes crazy, over the top and cutting edge designs. But, in the end they have to pair their daring daredevil designs with economic reality and rentability. After all, there is big money involved in the fashion business and designers too have to pay their dues to the companies’ shareholders. Combining creativity vs. commercial reality: this doesn’t necessarily have to be an oxymoron nor juxtaposition, and it is exactly this ambiguity that is a continuous excercise in situational irony, and as such a tough one indeed. Many feel the vocation but few are called to succeed. We distinct ourselves by positioning ourselves strictly in he “luxury only“ niche and high-end of the market. It is true that the “Knokkois“ environment we live in was a conditio sine qua non to make this happen, and our location contributed largely to make our story a succes. We were the first multibrand shoestore ever to carry Dior shoes and we’re still the only one – making us their sole “preferred partner“ for the Benelux. Then we expanded our portfolio with other high-end labels like Saint Laurent and Givenchy. Being constantly on the lookout for new emerging brands made that we were also the first Belgian partners for Gianvito Rossi and Aquazzura. We continuously readjust our buying options. Thus, each season, we replace 20% of our offering by something new, things we decide during many prospections. Our ultimate goal is to offer a both brave and balanced selection of established and emerging designers, and this combining both the commercial and creative aspects of our business.

Can you describe your typical customer?

Let’s say our typical customer is dedicated to good taste and driven by passion for the finer things in life. But, our customer base is extremely varied, from the Nanny to the Granny, so to speak. 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 getting her first Saint Laurent bag for her Sweet Sixteen. It’s very wide-reaching. Often our customers are people who have a second home in Knokke, and often they are international customers, who come from Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. We even have returning customers from the U.S. that visit us every time they are in the country.

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 Sabine does a complete overhaul of the windows and interior. A shoe that has been sitting at the back will then get pride of place in the window.

We work deliberately with the store’s door closed in order to create a hassle free environment in which the client can quietly choose and try on several styles. In this way we want to create an oasis of peace allowing customers to take their time and make the best of possible selections. It allows us better to give them our undivided attention which they each deserve. This is especially important during high season when Knokke tends to get overcrowded with tourists and tensions sometimes rise. But, regular customers or not, everybody is equally important to us and gets pampered equally as such.

Service is also incredibly important: we strive to offer each client an unparalleled before and after sales customer service, this is also another essential part of the Ironie ADN. 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, and which also helps with our buy: to find a compromise between style and comfort. We want to share with them our passion and knowledge of craftsmanship, footwear and style. Empathy and authentic helpfulness are key. We try to think along with the customer and be proactive while advising on style: nothing worse than a damsel in distress with a nice dress and no perfect pair of shoes that fit with it! We will more than gladly advise, always bearing in mind Yves Saint Laurent’s leitmotiv: “Fashion fades, Style remains“.

Seemless and stressless shopping in a warm and welcome, friendly athmosphere, that’s the true Ironie experience. We will go the extra mile for you, always!

Ironie Donna
  • Kustlaan 75
  • 8300 Knokke
  • +32(0)50 629 802
  • VAT BE0464.774.213
  • Monday - Sunday (7/7)
  • Open from 10:00 am - 18:30 pm
  • Including holidays
  • Personal shopping by appointment.
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