Why Did New York’s Fashion Set Dine in Queens Last Night?

Sofia Sanchez de Betak, better known by Instagrammers as @Chufy, has a bizarre, magnetic energy surrounding her. In fact, it’s so strong that her best friends, and then some, trekked out to a faraway land called Queens last night for an evening inspired by her recent months abroad in Greece. The trip inspired her capsule collection of Globe-Trotter luggage for Starwood’s Luxury Collection, now available for purchase exclusively at Globe-Trotter’s flagship boutique in London, and through the Luxury Collection store.

 The food might have been good, but the energy was even better. A rarity in the party scene, not a single guest declined to attend, and there were no last minute cancellations. It could have been the fact that the invitations arrived as hand painted plates, or that the evening marked the return of Mrs. de Betak after several months away, but her adoring New York fans included photographers Inez & Vinoodh, Waris Ahluwalia, Carlos Mota, Nike exec Demetria White, and La Ligne founders Valerie Boster and Meredith Melling Burke. “I hope you feel all cozy and warm, which is how I feel around all of you,” Mrs. de Betak said during her toast before dinner was served. 

There were an innumerable number of traditional Greek courses served to these cozy and warm folk, but none was more important, and less authentic, than dessert, especially to Mrs. de Betak, who was presented with a massive production of her favorite New York treat: Junior’s Cheesecake. “I arrived in New York last night, and my friends surprised me with a Junior’s Cheesecake,” she said of another cake sitting back in her apartment. “I’ve already finished half of it.” 

In an age when “influencers” are paid by brands to host a dinner, and practically wheeled on a dolly greeting guests, Mrs. de Betak stands alone. While she might have remained dutifully clad in a Valentino frock, she still got to know every guest, and even ended the night with a bang by smashing plates outside of Loukoumi Taverna on Ditmas Boulevard – far, far away from Manhattan and all of its trappings. 

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Sofía Sanchez de Betak Is Flying High With Her New Luxury Collection Suitcase Collaboration

 

The halcyon days of traveling in style: Are they well behind us? Well, perhaps so, what with old-school sybaritic tastes of the jet set being abandoned for the much-worn sweatpants and neck pillows of the jet-lagged. Thankfully one of fashion’s chicest wayfarers is bringing back vestiges of a seemingly lost era: Witness Sofía Sanchez de Betak’s just-released Globe-Trotter collaboration. Comprised of four limited-edition leather-trim valise suitcases created with the British luggage company and The Luxury Collection hotels and resorts, the polished collection is a far cry from the ubiquitous plain black carry-on the rest of us shove into the overhead compartment before takeoff.

Inspired by Sanchez de Betak’s summer vacation to the Greek isles, the designs boast vivid watercolor scavenger maps of Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Costa Navarino on their canvas interiors. These are the locales the Argentinian creative director visited on her trip; her mother has been working in tourism for more than 30 years, and early on taught Sanchez de Betak that traveling is the best way of learning.

Here, Sanchez de Betak tells us the traveling lessons she’s learned over the years, including why she prefers folding over rolling, why she never leaves her Valentino at home, and the foolproof way to avoid overpacking.

Sofia Sanchez de Betak

Photo: Courtesy of Sofia Sanchez de Betak / @chufy

Your Suitcase Should Be as Valuable as Your Memories
When traveling is part of your daily life, your suitcase becomes your mobile home, your companion, the thing that carries those special finds you collect on your travels. The trunk-shaped suitcase perfectly embodies what traveling represents to me—a treasure!

Take the Comforts of Home With You
It’s still the most stressful part of traveling to me. I learned a few things that I can’t always apply—temptation always gets in the way—but I would say pack your go-to, favorite clothes. Things you never wore back home are not going to suddenly appeal to you in a remote destination. Comfortable shoes are a must: Blisters are not an option when traveling. I prefer folding the clothes, not rolling them, so I can pack and unpack easily. Make sure to have an extra set of toiletries and makeup for traveling, with smaller containers and less products. And always leave some space for shopping!

Split Up the Essentials to Save Space

The smaller the items, the better. I split toiletries, underwear, and shoes into many different bags. So one pair of shoes in two separate bags, shampoo and conditioner in one Ziploc bag, makeup in another, toothbrush and toothpaste in another.

If in Doubt, Sit on Your Suitcase
Stick to one carry-on, and then try sitting on it to make sure it closes!

Sofia Sanchez de BetakNever Leave Home Without Valentino

It depends on where I’m going. If it’s a summer holiday, I always bring my comfortable and beautiful Valentino sandals and my hand-painted dresses. If it’s a city for work purposes, my Gucci fur loafers and Prada boots.

Be Prepared for the Worst
I always take a very warm scarf, a poncho, and sneakers in case it rains.

People Do Still Dress Up to Fly
I wear a dress for traveling—sometimes an Equipment cashmere dress for winter, or some sort of caftan for the summer. Once in the plane, I slip on pajama pants and cashmere socks. I pair them with my Prada boots or Gucci loafers.

Don’t Forget Your Carry-On!
For the airport, I pack a big duffel bag that I place on top of the carry-on. In that I pack my computer, magazines, socks, pajamas. Then I take a smaller handbag for my passport, sleeping mask, lip balm, hand cream, portable charger, headphones, and wallet.

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Sofía Sanchez de Betak Celebrates Her New Luggage Collection With a Greek Feast in Queens

Last night, in a venture probably more rare than a trip to Mykonos, Alexandre de Betak, Constance Jablonski, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Linda Fargo, and others traveled to Astoria, Queens. The reason for the Monday evening drive across the Queensboro Bridge? The celebration of Sofía Sanchez de Betak’s new Globe-Trotter luggage collection with the Luxury Collection, which was held at the local Astoria—and decidedly authentic—Greek restaurant Loukoumi Taverna.

“It’s so me!” exclaimed Sanchez de Betak, as dear friends, including a group from her childhood in Argentina, entered the warm room, helping themselves to ouzo and red wine before the feast.

“Seriously, I had planned for a much smaller dinner,” reflected the hostess. “We had to add tables at the end! It’s amazing that you all made it, and it’s such a beautiful group of friends and faces that I adore. We are really lucky, Alex and I.”

The dinner consisted of course upon course of Greek specialties—Greek salad and keftedakia, charcoal grilled octopus, classic meatballs and chickpea balls, grilled chicken kebab, and much, much more. “I feel like tonight is the birth of our baby,” mused The Luxury Collection’s Meredith Dichter. “We’ve been working since June of 2014 to create the perfect luggage, and here we are.”

The celebration came to a close with live music, Junior’s cheesecake (“I have a bit of an obsession,” grinned Sanchez de Betak), and, if you lasted late enough into the night, the throwing of plates into the street. “Together, we can do anything,” teased Waris Ahluwalia, as he and a friend lifted a massive bottle of red to refill their table’s glasses.

It’s safe to say Sanchez de Betak’s friends will be returning to Queens—and most likely planning trips to the Greek islands, with new luggage in hand—very soon.

 

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Sofia Sanchez de Betak’s Astoria

Sofia Sanchez de Batek knows a thing or two about travel. As an art director, she spends much of her time jetting around to places like Greece and Paris for work, not to mention Argentina, where she’s from. But her favorite neighborhood of late doesn’t require a plane, just a bike ride across the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan. In Astoria, Queens, she’s discovered many of the things she loves about traveling: authentic Greek cuisine, Argentinean milanesas, and Sicilian pizza. Plus, there are world-class museums. Ahead of a collaboration with Globe-Trotter suitcases, de Batek shares her Astoria hit list.

El Gauchito
El Gauchito is my favorite restaurant in Astoria; it’s like a little piece of Argentina in New York City. Their meat is cut the Argentinian way, and they have a little grocery store in the back where I buy milanesas for my lazy nights.

Noguchi Museum 
One of my favorite museums in New York. Isamu Noguchi’s sculptures are fascinating, and taking a bike up the Queensboro Bridge is the perfect Sunday excursion.

MoMA PS1  

I love visiting all the amazing museums in New York, but PS1 stands out for me because of its amazing architecture. Whenever I visit I always make a point to check out their outdoor installations.

Loukoumi Taverna
When I was looking for a spot to host the dinner for the launch of my Globe-Trotter luggage with The Luxury Collection, I instantly fell in love with Loukoumi Taverna. You will find the most authentic Greek cuisine here, and the restaurant has the most comforting, family-oriented atmosphere; I love the black and white family photos from the owner’s family that cover the walls.

The Bonnie
The Bonnie is my go-to brunch spot in Astoria. I love the buzzy atmosphere and always order their smashed avocado toast. It comes with a poached egg and roasted tomatoes on top, and a dash of their chili-salt is the perfect addition to spice it up.

Rose & Joe Italian Bakery
This place sells some of the best baked goods in the borough; their cannoli are fantastic. Make sure to pay a visit to the back counter of the bakery as well, where they serve up delicious slices of Sicilian pizza.

Astoria Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall
If you’re in Astoria, visiting the Beer Garden is a must for music and drinks with a group of friends in the summer. The outdoor garden has tons of picnic tables where you can sit and order specialties from their authentic Czech menu, and they have a large list of European beers to choose from.

Astoria Greenmarket
In the summer and fall, I love stopping by the seasonal Astoria Greenmarket to pick up fresh produce to bring home and cook with that evening. You can also find a variety of Mexican hot peppers!

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Only Sofia Sanchez de Betak could get this many fashion elites to Queens

Should you ever want to check your social standings, we’d suggest throwing an event in an outer-borough. No matter who you are, people will never want to come. BUT, if you’re lovability be right, you should find a host of RSVPs all the same. Remember Alexander Wang’s runway show in Brooklyn? Nothing but a status checking stunt.

Last evening, the ever lovely jet setter and fashion favorite to all, Sofia Sanchez de Betak, buzzed about a room bursting with friends to celebrate the launch of her new collaboration with The Luxury Collection and Globe-Trotter. The finest of Manhattan’s fashion set Uber-schlepped themselves out to Sofia’s chosen destination du jour, Loukoumi Taverna. Making an Athens of Astoria, with course after course of all too delicious Mediterranean fare, and requisite Grecian soundtrack of timbrels, pipes, and fiddles playing in the background, ’twas a plate smashing time to say the least.

Who was there: Guests included Sofia Sanchez de Betak, Leandra Medine, Chloe Malle, Valerie Boster, Meredith Melling Burke, Meredith Brooks, Waris Ahluwalia, Inez van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin, Linda Fargo, Vanessa von Bismarck, Constance Jablonski, Eric Buterbaugh, Aleksandra Woroniecka.

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