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|Occupation||Fashion Designer and former President Tricot St. Raphael|
Cecile Platovsky, the well renowned designer, was raised in Belgium, before moving to New York City, where she began Tricot St. Raphael, the menswear company in 1974. She is often cited as one of the most notable people in fashion in addition to a sweater "maverick" and "doyenne".
Tricot St. Raphael was awarded the "Partners in Excellence Awards" in 1995. Tricot was selected from among 35,000 companies doing business with Nordstrom at the time. "The three companies selected exceeded our expectations in each of the judging categories: quality, value, service, partnership and business ethics," said John Whitacre, Nordstrom co-president at the time.
Platovsky founded Tricot St. Raphael, a menswear company that manufactures sweaters, mostly out of Uruguay in 1973. Growing up with a family in the textile industry in Belgium, Cecile was very familiar with fashion at a young age, and in a 2009 interview she said "I have always wanted to design clothes" since I was young. Cecile said she wanted to "make sweaters for traditional people that wanted to be fashionable". When Cecile decided to start Tricot, she felt that Uruguay was the place to start, because they were well known for being a wool producing country, and "I figured if they produce wool, there must be factories". When she arrived in Montevideo, she knew one name through a relative and asked if he would like to manufacture menswear. When he agreed, the ecstatic Cecile began Tricot. While in Uruguay, Cecile stayed in the resort town of Punte del Este. She was so taken with the country and the places she had been that she named her company after her favorite hotel in Montevideo, The Hotel St. Raphael. She added "Tricot" which means "knitwear" in French.
After designing her first line, she brought a few samples to a gentlemen she had met in New York. When he looked at the samples he said, "these are great, you should take part in a menswear fashion show next week". In her first day, she sold 8,000 sweaters. Later she tells Snyder, "I had a feeling that someone was watching over me."
Later that year, she received a call from the Neiman Marcus seller in Paris, he said "I cannot come to New York, but heard great things about your line and would love to see it, can you come and meet me in Dallas?" This was well before Tricot had a travel budget, so Cecile took the gamble and flew down to Dallas. On the spot Neiman Marcus made an order for $80,000 and put Tricot on the map. Tricot continued to grow and began selling to many better retail stores such as, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor.
In an interview discussing her career she said:
"I worked very hard for 32 years, six days a week, but looking back I had a ball"
As the company grew, so did potential buyers, and in December 2000 Tricot was purchased by Salant Corp. Platovsky continued to run the division. After 32 years in the business, Platovsky stepped down from the helm in July 2004.
Cecile has three children and lives on the Upper West Side. Her son Ronald was the Vice President of Tricot before she sold it in 2004.