Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea: How to Travel Like a Jet-Set Girl
Skiing in France. Tea in New York. Meetings in Aspen. Weddings in Buenos Aires. That’s a good year’s worth of travel for most people. But for art director, fashion consultant, entrepreneur, and recently engaged It Girl Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, that’s just her two-week agenda.
Barrenechea works behind the scenes art directing campaigns for the likes of Derek Lam, Estée Lauder, Jimmy Choo, and more. She also cofounded Under Our Sky, an online boutique that curates up-and-coming Argentinean designers, with her sisters in 2011. And on rare occasions, she sometimes steps in front of the camera for the likes of Vogue, the New York Times (“My friends are in here!” she says while flipping through the newspaper’s style section)… and Lifestyle Mirror. A few months after we photographed Barrenechea in Paris at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, we sat down with her at her favorite coffee shop, O Café, near her apartment in New York. When she’s in town, she often stops by for tea and Brazilian pastries.
It’s a sunny morning and she breezes in wearing a printed coat by an Argentinean designer and carrying her bag stuffed with many of her travel essentials. She’s stunning without any makeup (she left her cosmetics kit in Argentina). Later that day, she’ll get on a plane to Aspen for the weekend. The following weekend, she’ll head to her hometown of Buenos Aires for a wedding. The weekend after that, it’s Miami.
Exclusively for Lifestyle Mirror, Barrenechea shows us exactly what’s in her carry-on bag, reveals her jet-set travel tips, and spills her dreams for her upcoming wedding.
What’s better than a massage? A surprise proposal. “My best spa experience was last week,” she says, shyly flashing her engagement ring. “I got proposed to in a spa.”
Barrenechea and her boyfriend were skiing in France. After a massage, they were soaking in a Japanese-style hot tub on a terrace as snow fell. To her surprise, he got down on one knee and popped the question.
She’s got a dream wedding location in mind. “I haven’t planned anything yet,” she says. “It’s very recent, so it’s all in my head. I would do it in Patagonia. It’s the most beautiful place on Earth. Patagonia, on my grandmother’s ranch. She has a beautiful place by the lake, mountains, islands, and green and blue and brown. That’s all you need, and I hope people make it down there.” And she plans for it to be a dance-all-night affair, like most Argentinean weddings.
You can find good Japanese food in Paris. “My boyfriend lives in Paris,” she says. “I love staying in his beautiful apartment and ordering sushi.” When they feel like venturing out for Japanese, they go to Takara, the oldest Japanese restaurant in the city.
She’s shipping a house from Bali to New York. Her fiancé is moving to New York and the two are building a house in Long Island. “We’re designing the house and then we need to find a piece of land, where to put it, so I can wakeboard. I love wakeboarding,” she says. Barrenechea admits it’s mostly her fiancé designing their new home. “He’s a genius. He’s a creative head. He designed his house in Majorca. It’s one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever been to. It’s been featured in every magazine; it’s insanely beautiful. But this one is gonna be different—it’s gonna be made in Bali and we’re gonna ship it to New York.”
She knows exactly where to eat in Buenos Aires… “I love this place that a friend did, very cute restaurant called Farinelli that’s very light and healthy food and great atmosphere,” she says. “I just sit there from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. when I have like three meetings, one after the other, and that’s a very convenient place because it’s very central and people love it.”
…and New York City. “There’s a restaurant in Queens that I like going to that has great meats—like they cut the meat just the way we do it in Argentina, so it’s very good, it’s very welcoming to just eat my kind of thing,” she says. “It’s called El Gauchito. It’s on Corona Avenue in Queens. It’s very low-key, very family-oriented, I mean like not trendy or not New York downtown. It’s more like Argentinean restaurant for the Argentinean community living in Queens. And they have a grocery store in the back where they sell milanesas and all very Argentinean and they bring dulce de leche so you get to buy some of the Argentinean goodies. I go there to refuel every now and then.”
She has a travel uniform. “I’m not a big shopper,” she says. (Though she’s a fan of Vivara for vintage jewelry and Opening Ceremony in New York.) “I manage with very little. A lot of people would disagree with that, but I mostly wear this handbag, I mostly wear this poncho, it’s very warm and convenient for traveling. I usually wear my uniform, which is this with a long dress and like leather pants… I always try to wear boots with a tiny bit of heel.” And sometimes underneath the dress? She wears her pajamas to keep warm on the plane.
Her summer vacation is planned—sort of. “I try to do a place I’ve never been to… mixed with Majorca, where my boyfriend has a place,” she says. “Last year we did Turkey and Greece. We rented a boat in Turkey, a sailing boat, and we went out to the Greek Islands and then we went to Majorca for the rest of the summer.”
She keeps calm and only carries on. “I normally travel with my carry-on… I have a beautiful Globetrotter—my boyfriend gave me one for Valentine’s a few years ago with my initials,” she says. “Actually he was just pushing me into not checking in luggage. He travels a lot, so it means saving him some time when traveling, so he got me a beautiful bag so now I’m forced to travel with only that. And my favorite Mary Katrantzou pouch, it comes with me ’cause it’s also as good as a clutch.”
She is not afraid to look like a dork. On set, she claims to look a like a “big nerd” in glasses and no-nonsense clothes. On a plane, she wears medical compression socks to keep her circulation going. —Maridel Reyes(@maridelreyes)
SOFIA SANCHEZ BARRENECHEA’S FAVORITE HOT SPOTS AROUND THE WORLD:
PARIS Where to Eat: Takara
BUENOS AIRES Where to Eat: Farinelli