March 30th 2017
“My mother always encouraged me to travel and explore the world,” recalls Buenos Aires-born Sofia Sanchez de Betak. Her mother, having spent more than 30 years in the travel industry cultivating tourism in South America, maintained that life’s most important lessons were learnt during its journeys, but the education didn’t end there.
“From piano to ballet, cooking to riding, she made sure we learnt as many things as possible throughout our childhood so that eventually, when the time came, we could choose what we wanted to do.” The problem is that now de Betak wants to do everything. Art direction and fashion design, filmmaking, modelling, and creative consulting, she confidently wears many hats and is even working on her own travel book, all while cultivating her buzzing social circle. It’s difficult to keep track of her movements, but de Betak embraces the risk associated with artistic endeavour, her endless adventures shaping everything she does. “I’m now working on a book about my travels and travel philosophy,” she smiles. “I love discovering off-the-beaten-path destinations, and the people who will help you discover these places in a unique way.”
Her collections also come from partnerships formed with the different designers, artists and artisans she encounters along the way, supporting them by selling their pieces and creating a demand for their skills and lost artistry. “Last year, I did one [collection] made and inspired by Mallorca with a local artist, and now I’m working on a Kenyan one and an Argentinian one,” she says.
Carving out her creative space amidst flights to far flung regions and short breaths between shores, in a recent collaboration with Globe-Trotter, de Betak drew upon her summer vacation in Greece, using the islands of Santorini and Mykonos as reference points for her designs.
Fondly known among her peers and Instagram followers as Chufy, de Betak’s nomadic nature comes into play once more with her latest incarnation as the embodiment of Roger Vivier’s SS17 collection. “At first, I was very surprised, but the more we talked about the concept of the season, the more it made sense,” she admits. “I realised we’re a perfect match! I am a real ‘urban nomad’… If I’m not travelling through exotic countries, I’m jumping from capital to capital.”
As a brand collaborator or model influencer, it’s easy to sit back and watch the work unfold, yet this sophisticated traveller is deeply invested in everything she does
Her sense of style commands attention and derails from predetermined trends. De Betak’s life is full of opposites, if she’s not cantering across the Maasai Mara, she’s walking a red carpet at the Opera Garnier Ballet, and her wardrobe reflects the pace with key pieces always poised for multiple occasions. “I dress depending on my mood, where I am, and what the weather is like,” she proclaims. “If I’m going to a crazy party, where everyone is going to be in major costumes, I may choose to wear a short dress and a pair of cool sneakers, to be able to dance all night and stick out.” Clearly not one to be constrained by sartorial norms, de Betak is regularly marked out as a fashion week favourite, her lithe frame looks as good in pointed stilettos as it does in Vivier’s lace-up boots, an accessory that she recently transitioned from flight to wedding party with grace and ease. “They worked beautifully with my vintage knee-length dress,” she laughs. “I danced all night!”
The soft leather boots, riding pants and handcrafted jewellery associated with Argentina remain familiar and warm staples for the woman, who admittedly doesn’t spend as much time in her country as she would like. And, in many ways, de Betak’s life has been characterised by a cross-cultural exchanges between Paris and Buenos Aires. Argentina pulses with power, associated with the twists of the tango, female presidents and late night soirees, but de Batak fell in love in Paris. Like her emotional engagement with her own style, she believes that the city speaks to women that don’t have to try too hard. “Paris is spectacular, but it was built so long ago that the city doesn’t try to impress or go over the top,” she suggests. “The same applies to Parisian women: They are beautiful with that je ne sais quoi, without ever going overboard.” De Betak’s grandmother is of a similar school of thought, upheld as the ‘most elegant woman’ she had ever met; de Betak recalls encountering the countless Vivier shoes her grandmother collected from Paris. “I love to see similar shoes, reinterpreted today and worn by the younger generation,” she enthuses. “It’s quite insane if I look at it from afar... I grew up seeing these exquisite shoes on the most stylish women, and now I’m being asked to be part of the brand’s history… I, Sofia from Argentina who always dreamed of living in Paris and living a Parisian love story,” she grins.
For de Betak, the standout piece from her collaboration must be the limited edition Viv’ Tango bag inspired by and dedicated to her. A bespoke rendition of Roger Vivier’s new handbag, Viv’ Cabas, the black tote with red guipure and small studs honours the opulent colour pairings of de Betak’s heritage, bringing her roots back to her cosmopolitan life. “When I carry it, I picture myself with my friends or at a premiere at the Colon de Buenos Aires theatre,” she reveals.
As a brand collaborator or model influencer, it’s easy to sit back and watch the work unfold, yet this sophisticated traveller is deeply invested in everything she does. “I admire talent and stamina,” she points out. Throwing caution to the wind and encouraging women everywhere to embrace adventure and artistic endeavour, we wonder, where will Chufy’s next challenge take her?