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Sofia Sanchez de Betak on Life in a Suitcase and Her “Chufy” Empire

For Sofia Sanchez de Betak, there’s nothing better than a sweet escape to an off-the-radar destination in far-flung locales around the globe. Now, the sartorial darling and
fashion consultant has turned her love for all things travel into a budding “Chufy” empire, comprised of a book and clothing and accessory line inspired by her journeys.

What sparked your desire to write your new book, Travels With Chufy?
There’s so much information [on travel] out there nowadays—blogs, websites—but it’s hard to get the right recommendations and to know who to trust. Where to start? Where to go? Whose advice is worth following? My book puts together all these pieces, covering what I’ve been discovering for many years and capturing my love for traveling.

Where did “Chufy” come from?
It’s my nickname! There were four Sofias in my class at school, so we all needed a different name to identify one another.

How did you catch the traveling bug?
Both of my parents are in tourism. My mom has a travel agency—she’s always taken us around the world on every holiday. She would fight with the headmistress of my school, because I would learn much more on a trip to Egypt than a week in school. I can’t remember half of what I learned in school, but I remember every detail of our trips.

Where’s the most far-off place you’ve been to?
Antarctica. That was a hard one to get to, but wow…one of the most incredible places I’ve ever seen.

What are your favorite hotels around the world?
Instead of staying at five-star hotels, I like staying at places that are atypical, especially private homes. That way, you get to know someone local, and they take care of you in a different way. Hotels don’t interest me that much. I love Hazz, a private house in Istanbul. It has luxurious bedrooms that are set up like a hotel, but you feel like a local, because the owner takes you around to her favorite bazaars, and it’s in an area with great antiques and vintage, which I love. You don’t have a ton of people servicing you, but it’s amazing. This place completely changed my perception of Istanbul. There’s also a great beach resort in Kenya called Kiwayu. It’s basically in the middle of nowhere. You have to spend an hour and a half on a boat to get there. There’s an amazing cabana with no windows or glass or doors. It has the most incredible beach and the freshest fish—it feels like you have the island to yourself. You can even surf in the sand and snorkel and scuba dive and hunt for oysters!

How do you deal with flight delays?
I’m not the nicest human being at airports. [Laughs] I sometimes lose my temper. But sometimes, the airlines do, too! I always bring my iPad, watch movies, and catch up on my reading with the Audible app. I’ll walk around the airport listening to my books.

Is your husband [fashion show producer Alexandre de Betak] a good travel partner?
He’s the best. At the beginning, when we started dating, he would go to the same place every summer and I’d be like, “No, life is too short. We should go somewhere new and exotic!” It took me a while to convince him to start going to new places, but he soon did it, and now, we can’t imagine a holiday without an exotic destination. We still go to Majorca, but we try to go to other exciting places, like Kenya and Iceland, too.

You had an epic wedding in your native Argentina.
Yes, our wedding was in the north of Patagonia where I’d go on holiday when I was little. It was fabulous. I still haven’t edited one album or video, though!

Do you stay digitally connected when you’re traveling?
I try to go to places that don’t have Internet access or cell phone reception. When we go to Patagonia, there are no phones or TVs. You have to drive 20 minutes to get any sort of reception, and I love it! Compared to everyone in my family, I’m the least addicted to technology.

What’s your recommendation for someone who wants a long weekend away from NYC?
Harbour Island in the Bahamas. I love the Ocean View Club. It’s easy and close and beautiful. It feels homey!

Where are you off to this summer?
We haven’t decided yet. Definitely Majorca, but I still haven’t decided about our additional trip. I’m looking at some Northern countries that I’ve never been to. I found Sparrow Island on the map…maybe we’ll go there!

This summer also marks the launch of your own fashion collection, Chufy.
It was inspired by the countryside in Argentina, but the clothes can be worn anywhere. I brought some of the pieces on my trip to Kenya last year, and everyone was asking me about it. You’ll find ponchos, boots, shirtdresses, skirts, jewelry…a bit of everything, all of which you can combine in different destinations.

What we can expect for future collections?
Every collection will be based off of one of my trips. The next ones will be Japan and Kenya. The collections don’t necessarily align with trends, but rather with the places that inspire me. I think it’s beautiful to wear something that reminds you of a place.

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A First Look at Sofía Sanchez de Betak’s South American–Inspired New Clothing Line

Sofía Sanchez de Betak lives out of her suitcase. The art director, fashion consultant, and designer has made a career out of exploring various corners of the world and finding inspiration in the most unexpected locales. For her latest venture, she journeyed back to a place she knows well and loves deeply—her native Argentina. On June 1, De Betak will launch Chufy, a clothing line inspired by her travels around the world and for the first iteration, South America in particular. The collection includes around 25 pieces of ready-to-wear and accessories priced between $495 and $2,890, and will be sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Colette in Paris, The Webster in Miami and Houston, and on MatchesFashion.com.

De Betak went straight to the source for Chufy, hiring local Argentine artisans to make all of the clothes. She worked with the decades-old Aux Charpentiers atelier in Buenos Aires on linen gaucho pants, a young up-and-coming tailor called Juan Hernandez Daels on the traditional silhouettes, artist Mercedes Güiraldes on the hand-embroidery, and Giribet on the riding boots, among others. “I collaborated with young and contemporary designers as well as with the traditional gaucho clothes-makers,” De Betak explains. “I wanted to create a balance between them and I think it’s very important to preserve the knowledge of the artisans because it’s fading away in every culture.”

In the very near future, De Betak plans to create collections inspired by other destinations such as Japan and Kenya. “Every place has a different aesthetic,” she says. “Every place has a different influence and an identity that I would love to highlight through Chufy. I am always researching for my next adventure.”

Above, a first look at Chufy and the Argentinean people and places that inspired the debut collection.

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We Can’t Wait For This Travel-Inspired Line’s Launch

With well over 100,000 followers on Instagram, it’s clear we’re not the only ones to lust over all the looks of art director turned style icon Sofia Sanchez de Betak, better known her nickname of Chufy. The Argentinean beauty already proved her influence last summer when her custom line of artsy, summer-perfect tunic dresses consistently sold out, and more recently with the publication of her first book, Travels With Chufy. And soon enough we’ll be even closer to achieving Sofia’s worldly signature style: starting June 1st fans will be able to able to shop from a full line of clothing, jewelry, and accessories inspired by her native country (think gaucho pants, ponchos, dramatic blouses, and embroidered leather espadrilles). But the eponymous brand has plans to explore the styles of other parts of the world as well, with future collections to be based on Chufy’s travels to Japan and Kenya. Though you’ll have to wait a few more days to be able to purchase pieces from the first drop—which you can do at Bergdorf Goodman or Matches Fashion, among a few other places—we’ve gone ahead and cherry-picked a few we’re already obsessed with to tide you over.

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Sofía Sanchez de Betak will launch a travel-inspired artisanal fashion line this summer

Even though she has lived in New York City for eight years, Sofía Sanchez de Betak is at home on the go. And now the Argentinian fashion consultant, art director, model, runway show front row regular and social media influencer is turning her love of travel into her own line of fashion and accessories. Chufy, named after her nickname, will launch at a Bergdorf Goodman pop-up on June 1.

The brand is an evolution of her work with Argentinian artisans over the past four years, with which she’s collaborated on pieces for the US and European market and also sold through her own site. Now she’s taking that approach to more of her favourite regions around the world, which will individually be the focus of each forthcoming collection, and where she will work with artisans to put her twist on handmade local classics and special finds.

“I don’t think traveling is just showing up to a country with a guidebook — so I make calls, I meet people, I make friends and somehow it ends up happening that I find — probably by the end of the trip — the right partners,” said Sanchez de Betak, adding that she sees her role as creative director more than fashion designer.

The debut Chufy collection, ranging in price from $200 to $1500, is all a product of Argentina and will land at Colette in Paris a week after its New York launch. “We are keeping it small and exclusive in the beginning because it’s many vendors,” she said. “I don’t see it as a trend thing or a fashion line in terms of summer winter autumn. I want it to be timeless and that’s how I feel about my gaucho pants and my boots… It’s more [about] a state of mind or a lifestyle than a season.” — Chantal Fernandez

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The Best Travel Shoes: Hers and His Edition

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