Instagram’s most well-traveled fashionista talks to WORLD OF DANNIJO about designing collections inspired by the world’s most captivating destinations.
By Tamara Abraham
Chufy in the Insects Nibushiki bomber (left) and the short Trippin kimono (right)
Sofia Sanchez de Betak, better known by her childhood nickname Chufy, does nothing by halves. For the launch of her latest collection — a line of kimonos inspired by her visits to Japan — she took over a ninja-themed restaurant in New York, decked it out with the red lanterns that line the backstreets of Tokyo, and had its waitstaff serve food from her favorite Japanese takeaway joint. The likes of Lynn Yaeger, Olivia Palermo and Jessica Hart dined on sushi and seaweed salads served in custom packaging, as well as tableware from Chufy’s own home.
Of course, those who know Chufy would expect nothing less. Her husband is famed fashion show producer Alex de Betak, and his company, Bureau Betak, is behind some of the industry’s most elaborate events.
The Chufy brand started almost by accident. In her work as an art director and fashion consultant, Chufy is constantly on the move and does much of her clothes shopping while traveling. “I love getting very local, eccentric things,” she says. “Unfortunately I don’t always end up wearing them much when I get back home — they’re either too stiff, too bright, too traditional… I wanted to do something that I would be able to wear when I’m back, or want to wear when traveling – softer fabric, better fit, a more exciting print and also more modern. I feel like what I’ve done for my collection is much more wearable.”
Chufy at the launch dinner for her latest collection with DANNIJO co-founder Danielle Snyder (center) and model Jessica Hart (right)
The first collection emerged after meeting artist Letita Aragon in Mallorca, where the de Betaks have a home. “We don’t have very much art in our house in Mallorca, so I said, ‘Why don’t you do a dress painting instead?’ So we did this dress, and it was quite wild but I ended up wearing it so much and I got so many compliments on it, I asked her to sell to me.”
It’s about treating fashion in a very light manner, very little pretension.
Chufy makes it sound easy, though it was probably anything but — especially given that last year, just as her fledgling business was hitting its stride, she and de Betak welcomed a daughter, Sakura. Regardless, there was demand for her exacting eye, and subsequent collections followed. A line inspired by her native Argentina includes a gaucho hat, espadrilles and llama wool stoles. Another, a collection of Globetrotter suitcases inspired by the Greek islands, completely sold out. The next will be inspired by Moroccan architecture and rugs.
Chufy with Danielle at The Sewing Room by DANNIJO in pieces from the Chufy collection
Most fashion brands are tied to Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collections, but Chufy describes her offering as “seasonless.” It’s a modern approach, reflecting today’s global nomad consumer. Chufy can identify with that: “I always keep both my summer and winter [clothes] out,” she says. “I go a lot to Argentina, where I’m from. Home is New York, maybe soon it will be Paris.”
The latest Chufy offering, created in collaboration with The Luxury Collection, includes silky bombers, pajamas and shirts, as well as kimonos, all designed to look as good in the city with jeans as they do over a bikini on the beach. As Chufy herself says, “It’s about treating fashion in a very light manner, very little pretension.”
If you need any further inspiration, there’s a curated selection of Chufy pieces at The Sewing Room by DANNIJO, at 330 Hudson Street, where you’ll find stylists on hand to help you make every piece your own.