Travels With Chufy


La sofisticada vida de la primera dama de la moda argentina

Aunque asegure que no se siente una It girl, Sofía Sánchez Barrenechea de Betak pertenece a esa elite de la moda que se sienta en la primera fila de los principales desfiles en París, Milán y Nueva York, se luce con su estilo en las fiestas del jet set, es imagen de las mejores marcas y se ha convertido en una de las niñas mimadas de la revista Vogue, que la ha bautizado “la primera dama de la moda argentina”.

“Sólo soy una chica que trabaja mucho, hace distintas cosas, pero no me siento ni una It girl ni una influencer. Creo que son términos que le aplican a personas multifacéticas que son difíciles de encasillar”, dice Chufy, como la llaman –y conocen– todos, cuando comienza la entrevista con Viva en el Museo Malba.

¿Pero no te parece que el término se ha popularizado demasiado? Hoy cualquiera abre un Instagram y se declara influencer.

Hoy las marcas pueden cuantificar la influencia que cada uno tiene, se hacen estudios de distintos perfiles y luego eligen con quién quieren trabajar. No hay que tener 500.000 seguidores para ser influyente. Hoy las marcas buscan nichos específicos con acceso más directo a quienes quieren llegar. Cuando lancé la primera colección de mi marca, fue impresionante ver cómo, cada vez que yo subía una foto de algún vestido, se vendían instantáneamente equis cantidad. Lo mismo veo cuando recomiendo hoteles. Muchas veces, me hago amiga de los dueños. Luego ellos me cuentan que muchos se hospedaron allí diciendo que lo habían visto en mi Instagram.

@chufy es su Instagram, seguido por más de 140.000 fashionistasinteresadas en saber qué se puso, dónde y con quién estuvo esta argentina de 32 años, que se casó en la Patagonia. Fue en una boda que duró tres días con Alexandre de Betak, el más importante productor de desfiles, cuya cartera de clientes incluye a nombres como Dior, Victoria’s Secret, Viktor & Rolf, Rodarte, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Isabel Marant y H&M, entre otras.

Licenciada en Diseño Gráfico en la UBA, Sofía trabajó un tiempo con el fotógrafo Urko Suaya hasta que decidió salir a conquistar el mundo. Los viajes son parte de su ADN, ya que ha viajado con su familia desde muy pequeña. Primero pasó un tiempo en Kenya, luego se radicó en París y, finalmente, aterrizó hace diez años en Nueva York, donde comenzó a trabajar como directora de arte para varias firmas. También protagonizó campañas para marcas como Chloé y Roger Vivier, hasta que se convirtió en habitué de las páginas de las revistas Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W. Glamour, Vanity Fair y Condé Nast Traveler. Además tiene su propia marca de ropa con colecciones inspiradas en distintos viajes y destinos, que se vende en tienda Colette, Bergdorf Goodman, MatchesFashion.com y The Webster, como también en su propia tienda, www.chufy.world.

¿Por dónde pasa la moda? ¿Por el lujo posible, por el low cost o por la ecología?

Existen muchas realidades. Hay un mercado que consume el lujo de las marcas y los logos. Hay otro que busca el lujo en lo ecológico y artesanal. Y otro, masivo, que consume el low cost y al que, en la mayoría de los casos, no le interesa o ni está enterado de la moda ecológica o las marcas. No es de sorprender que entre las personas más ricas del mundo estén el dueño de Zara y el dueño de LVMH, opuestos parecidos.

¿Quiénes son para vos los referentes actuales de la moda, los diseñadores que integran el top ten?

Jonathan Anderson, Proenza Schouler, Pierpaolo Piccoli, Laura y Kate Mulleavy, Raf Simons, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Demna Gvasalia, Alessandro Michele, Miuccia Prada y Azzedine Alaia.

¿Qué opinás de la alianza que hicieron H&M con Colette o top models como Gigi Hadid con Tommy Hilfiger?

Algunas están muy buenas y otras son puramente por la comunicación. Recuerdo en su momento me encantó la de Alber Elbaz con H&M o la de Alexander Wang. Eran productos muy similares a los de las marcas, pero más accesibles y comerciales.

¿Cómo será la moda en diez años?

Bastante parecida a lo que hay hoy, con un pequeño y creciente mercado más comprometido con la preservación del medio ambiente.

¿Qué opinión te merece la moda argentina? ¿Por qué creés que nunca termina de despegar a nivel internacional?

Hay diseñadores muy buenos, pero creo que no despega por la combinación de muchos factores. En principio, Argentina está alejada de los mercados más importantes: EE.UU., Europa y Asia. Tiene temporadas invertidas, dificultades de importación y exportación, proveedores cambiantes y poco confiables en cuanto a puntualidad en entregas y costos. No es casual que la mayor parte de las marcas internacionales sean europeas y americanas.

Hace algunas semanas, Sofía pasó por Buenos Aires. Vino a hacer la nueva campaña para la tienda Mango y además presentó su primer libro Travels with Chufy, publicado por la editorial Assouline, que recorre desde la sabana de Kenya y las bahías glaciares de Islandia, hasta las altísimas montañas de la Patagonia, paraísos que Sofía comparte como favoritos, además de Entre Ríos, en donde pasó gran parte de su infancia. El lanzamiento fue ante un concurridísimo auditorio en el Museo Malba. “Viajo mucho desde chica. Ibamos al Sur con mis padres. Mi papá pescaba con mosca, así que pasábamos los veranos al aire libre por el norte patagónico y los inviernos, esquiando en Bariloche”, recuerda.

¿Organizás tus viajes o dejás que cada destino te vaya sorprendiendo?

Trato de hacer una buena investigación al principio, pero una vez que empieza el viaje, dejo las guías y los mapas de lado para que el destino me sorprenda. En cada viaje busco aprender algo nuevo, empujarme a hacer algo que nunca hice antes.

¿Cómo vinculás la moda con tus viajes?

El trabajo me lleva a lugares nuevos. Ahora tengo la oportunidad de llevar a clientes de moda a los destinos que yo quiero. ¡Un lujo!

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ソフィア・サンチェス・ドゥ・ベタックの 大人のための旅ワードロ ーブ

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Sofía Sanchez de Betak Piles Travels Into Collection, Book

PARIS — Sofía Sanchez de Betak has been up since 4 a.m., following a 12-hour flight from Japan. She is bare-faced, her hair is damp and she is wearing a tent dress made from old bed sheets.

It’s her first day in her new temporary Paris digs — she and her husband, show producer Alexandre de Betak, are staying in his Paris office while their home is being renovated — and she is still finding her bearings. Despite all this, she looks effortlessly gorgeous — a walking affront to any Instagram filter.

An art director and graphic designer by training, the Buenos Aires-born influencer known as Chufy — with 123,000 followers on Instagram — is something of a professional globe-trotter. Her innate sense of style has led her to work with brands including Barneys, Chloé, Chanel, Hogan and Zara.

Now she has parlayed her passion into her own fashion line, also called Chufy, which she designs with local artists and artisans from around the world. The first collection is comprised of around 25 clothing and accessory designs, in addition to 15 pieces of jewelry, with prices ranging from $495 for a shirt to $2,890 for riding boots.

The first collection is launching today with an event at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, where she will also be signing copies of her new book, “Travels With Chufy,” published by Assouline. The line will also be carried by Colette in Paris, The Webster in Miami and Houston, and Matchesfashion.com in London and online globally.

Over a glass of coconut water, Sanchez de Betak talked about going geisha, her love of King Charles Spaniels and how to survive without Internet.

WWD: When you are constantly on the move, is it important to maintain a routine, or do you prefer to let the day surprise you?

Sofía Sanchez de Betak: When I’m in the city, I try to stick to my routine: I work out in the morning, I cook my breakfast, I do my work, I have my meetings, I see my husband, I go for dinner, we cook. But when we’re traveling, it’s as we go. I never work out, I never do anything by the book. I like getting lost. Even if I plan and do my homework, at the end, the best part of traveling, I think, is what comes out spontaneously.

WWD: In terms of social media, what is the first thing you check in the morning?

S.S.d.B.: Instagram is the only one I really use, though I’m not as much a consumer of social media as most of the people around me think.

I do it, I work with it and I like it, at maybe a certain time of the day, but once the day starts, that’s it. I’m working, I’m doing, I’m exploring, my eyes are open — I’m not on my phone, only when I have a dead moment. So that’s pretty liberating. I’m not addicted at all to social media.

WWD: So does your team post for you when you are offline?

S.S.d.B.: No, I keep it very personal — all myself, and no planning and no strategy. Maybe it would do much better if I did, but I think it would lose the spark, the special side of it, if I really used it as a strategic tool. I think also that’s what people like about my Instagram. That’s the feedback I get from the comments: how spontaneous and how lively it is.

WWD: In your book, “Travels With Chufy,” a lot of the pictures are yours. When did you start photography?

S.S.d.B.: I wouldn’t consider myself a photographer. It’s more like part of the travel experience. I’ve always been a gadget person — like I would always have a little camera with me when I was little. The oldest place I visited is 15 years ago, and I had a pretty nice camera back then, so thank god the pictures are decent, and there’s a lot of pictures from my husband or from friends. We kind of dug around for the book.

WWD: So this is a bit like an intimate photo album of the places you’ve visited?

S.S.d.B.: I actually see it more as a curation of very special places that are different, that are local, that are run by the owners and family-run, that have a history, so that when you stay there, you feel that you connect with the place you’re at.

That’s what I loved about all these places: that they go deeper than any other hotel. When I go to a five-star hotel, I feel very disconnected to where I am. Like getting English toiletries in Okinawa — I’m like, “I’m in Japan. Give me a Japanese brand!”

WWD: What kind of content gets the most response online?

S.S.d.B.: It’s me doing an activity, or wearing something special. When I post certain landscapes or objects or things like that, they don’t get as much interest.

I think it’s a shame. I keep posting whatever I feel like, but yes, the images that are more lively and with a person in front are more successful. In general, I think people always go for that, not just my followers. I follow places or animals or restaurants, and that interests me, but that doesn’t interest everyone.

WWD: What kinds of places and animals do you follow?

S.S.d.B.: I follow King Charles Spaniel dogs, because my mom has two in Argentina and I miss them a lot. My mom is not a very big Instagrammer, so I just follow other dogs that I find cute, and then I follow a lot of people that just shoot beautiful places.

It always gives me ideas of where I’m going to go next.

WWD: Your personal style is such an important part of your Instagram presence. How do you pick what you’re going to wear?

S.S.d.B.: Traveling is where I get most of my inspiration. Because I travel to all sorts of places, my style is very varied. I can go from looking like a geisha to looking like a hippie in the Mediterranean, or whatever. I go from one extreme to the other.

I don’t like looking like an American tourist in the middle of the bush. I like blending in and making the moment feel homogenous.

WWD: Where did you get the dress you are wearing today?

S.S.d.B.: This is my first collection, actually. I travel with them all the time. It’s hand-painted dresses [by Spanish artist Letita Aragon] made with bed sheets, so I wear these for traveling and I feel like I’m in my bed when I’m on the plane.

WWD: How did you work on your first Chufy collection?

S.S.d.B.: The Majorcan one [last year] was kind of an experiment. I hadn’t really launched my brand yet, so this was one collaboration with an artist that I really like.

It sold out and we had to do a lot more, so that gave me a bit of a push for the second collection, which is actually the main launch of the brand. It’s an Argentinian collection inspired by the countryside and the gauchos, who are the Argentinian cowboys.

They wear this very particular type of pants and each part of the country has their own style. Then I also worked with artisans that hand-weave ponchos, and instead of making it a regular poncho, I made them into vests.

Then I did ruanas, which are like big ponchos, but open in the front so you can wear them as scarves, and I had them hand embroidered by an artist. I collaborated with different people from around the country.

WWD: Was it important for you to make the first statement about your identity and where you come from?

S.S.d.B.: Yes, I thought it was a nice break for the brand to say, “OK, this is Argentina.”

Next season, it’s Japanese, and maybe in the future, within Japan, I can make 10 collections. One can be kimonos, another can be two-piece kimonos — it can go anywhere. The following one is Kenya, so it’s quite exciting.

WWD: What percentage of your online content is sponsored or paid?

S.S.d.B.: Barely any. I mean, mostly it’s mine. I don’t think I’ve ever done sponsored work. I do have relationships with brands and friends and designers that if I like what they do, I wear it and I promote it if I can and if I feel comfortable with it.

If we do sponsorship, we do a video or a campaign or something, and then I promote it and put it on my Instagram.

WWD: So you don’t try to monetize your site that way?

S.S.d.B.: I find it a bit lame and flat, and also I don’t find it longlasting if you just start selling posts like that. What I do find super interesting is telling a brand, “OK, you want to do something with me? I don’t want to just wear your dress and post it. I think it doesn’t represent me. I’m not a model, I’m not a blogger. If you want, let’s do something interesting, let’s collaborate.” I am a creative, so Roger Vivier, that I did a campaign for, we did a collaboration on a handbag that was called the Tango bag. And after that, I proposed, let’s do an event, let’s do a tango class for 60 people. All the editors were taking classes. Each one had their own instructor. It was so much fun and people loved it.

It was my idea that I really had to fight for, because it wasn’t like the brand said, “Oh great, let’s have editors dance tango!” They were a bit freaked out at the beginning.

My husband helped me produce the event and it was a complete success, and I couldn’t stop posting images, but not because I was being paid.

WWD: So it has to come from an authentic place for you.

S.S.d.B.: Hopefully, yes. In 95 percent of cases, it comes from an authentic place. If sometimes I give in and I do a project, maybe there is a middle point, but mostly it needs to be authentic and I need to love the project that I’m promoting and the brand and the product.

WWD: What is the most challenging thing about creating content, because I imagine that people expect you to be sharing all the time? Don’t you sometimes want to go off the grid?

S.S.d.B.: Totally. Despite sharing so much, I think no one really knows about my life and my everyday, because I share what I choose to share. I share the travels, I share outdoor experiences.

The real things that really happen in my life, they’re private. There’s a lot of people that post their breakfast, their moments with their husband. We keep ourselves to ourselves. When I go on holiday, if we go to a place where there’s reception, I leave [my phone] in the room, I barely bring it out.

We go to Patagonia every year for Christmas and there’s nothing, there’s not even a landline, nothing to communicate with the world. You need to drive 20 minutes to be able to make a call or download an e-mail, and I realize I’m the least addicted person in the entire house. Everyone else is freaking out. My hippie stepbrother is running to the road twice a day to download his emails.

I would like to think I’m quite reserved with all that. If I go to a dinner party, the phone stays in the coat.

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Globe jotter: Sofía Sanchez de Betak takes the world of travel writing by storm

 

Argentinian fashion consultant, creative director and travel influencer Sofía Sanchez de Betak was nicknamed ‘Chufy’ as a kid. ‘It went from Sofía, to Sofi, to Chofi, to Chufy,’ she writes via email, in between flights.

As you might expect from a worldwide wunderkind, Chufy is difficult to pin down. As well as stalking the globe, hunting for inspirations for her self-titled fashion label, she has also just launched her first round-the-world tome with Assouline, Travels with Chufy.

The scrapbook-esque edition, complete with self-styled holiday snaps, lays out Sanchez de Betak’s wayfaring wisdom, via dozens of characterful hideaways. Each is chosen for its ‘luxury beyond stars’ approach and individualistic qualities that push further than standardised amenity checklists.

‘Nowadays, I think hotels use the word “luxury” to define a room with a good duvet and a flat screen TV,’ she offers. ‘It feels like travel’s “luxury” parameters are all about making every destination look and feel the same across continents.’ For Chufy, this has no relevance to true high-end travel. ‘“Luxury” means connecting with your environment, relating to locals, finding the things that make that destination unique – and learning.’

 And she’s learnt from the best. A fuselage of well-travelled acquaintances and colleagues have offered their favourite places and tips, many of which can be found in the anecdotal ‘Don’t Miss’ section of each chapter. Sanchez de Betak thanks Alber Elbaz, Elie Top, Isabel Marant, and Princess Elisabeth von Thurn, among others, for showing her that ‘there are more people like us out there, who value these understated gems more than any number of stars’.

Though she refers to her draft writings as a series of ‘messy memories’, the finished prose is easy and accessible – even when the places she describes aren’t. She writes as if speaking to a friend. Page after page, we step down into the crushed taverners of Istanbul, out onto wild Kenyan savannahs, finally flinging ourselves into the open pampas of Finca Los Alamos, in Chufy’s Argentinian homeland.

Of course, she’s far from hanging up her hand luggage. Hungry for more adventure, Sanchez de Betak cites India, Africa and the Nordic countries as places she’s yet to fully explore. ‘There’s so much to see,' she says. ‘The world is so big, even if you’ve visited 100 places, you've never seen enough.’

 
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An Inspiring New Travel Guide With Style and Soul

ON HER HONEYMOON two years ago, Sofía Sanchez de Betak found herself at a highly recommended, expensive boutique hotel in Brazil—and was utterly miserable. “It was in a very beautiful place,” she explained, “but it lacked a soul.”

So Ms. Sanchez de Betak, 30, a Buenos Aires-born and New York-based art director who’s traveled extensively, decided to create a guide focused not just on butler services and 1,000-thread-count sheets but experiences and people. She wanted to help others find “what I look at as luxury,” she said. “There’s nothing better than when a lodge owner sits with you at the table.”

Out this week, her book, called “Travels with Chufy,” features 20 such soulful adventures. (Chufy, a childhood nickname, is her Instagram handle.) She describes Meme Larivière, the owner of Estancia Arroyo Verde, a fishing lodge in verdant Neuquén, Argentina, as a “grandmother figure.” If your bucket-list escape is “just you and the beautiful ocean,” she recommends Mike’s Camp on Kenya’s Kiwayu Island. Owner Mike Kennedy, she said, “is a crazy lovely man who spoils you with incredible fresh fish.”

In photo after photo, the book also showcases Ms. Sanchez de Betak’s enviable knack for dressing appropriately yet stylishly wherever she lands. Her travels are the catalyst for a new clothing and accessories line, also called Chufy, which launched at Bergdorf Goodman this week. Each Chufy collection will take its cues from a different part of the world. The first references her native Argentina, and she’s currently at work on Japan for fall and Kenya for next spring.

 

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