Loumia Hiridjee, who founded French intimates brand Princesse Tam Tam with her husband, Mourad Amarsy, was buried Monday during a private ceremony in Paris. The couple were gunned down during terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
They had split time between Paris and Mumbai since 2007 and were the hosts of a business dinner in the Oberoi/Trident Hotel whenthe violence erupted, said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. At least 188 people were killed during the three-day siege that ended Saturday.
Born to a family of wealthy Indian merchants in Madagascar, Hiridjee, 47, started the now $150 million lingerie company in 1985 with Amarsy, 50, and her sister, Shama. The company was sold in 2005 to Speed Retailing, a Japanese concern. There are 158 Princesse Tam Tam boutiques worldwide.
Hiridjee moved to Paris at age 13, where she attended a Catholic boarding school. Describing her formative years in Paris to WWD, she said she was “fascinated” by its fashion and sophisticated, multicultural world.
“In Madagascar, one rarely dressed up,” she said. “In Paris, I saw beautiful women.”
That love of fashion, combined with a keen sense of finance, won her several awards: France’s business manager of the year in 1994, businesswoman of the year in 1996 and the Prix Veuve Clicquot in 1998 for her expertise as a businesswoman. The responsibilities of finance were shared with her husband, a former president of the company who preferred to let his wife bask in the limelight.
The name of the company and brand was inspired by the classic 1935 motion picture “Princesse Tam Tam,” starring Josephine Baker. Hiridjee was most recently developing a lifestyle Web site for Indian women to promote independence and empowerment. She continued as design director of the company and was seen as recently as 2007 at the Princesse Tam Tam stand at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, as well as the former Lyon Mode City trade show in Lyon, France. The brand is distributed in the U.S. by NAP Inc.
Marie-Laure Bellon Homps, chief executive officer of Eurovet Inc., said, “It was our former ceo, Jehan Quettier, who launched her career in the young designer area. She was an avant-garde woman who was always looking for the newest trends.”
Laurence Teinturier, executive vice president of CurvExpo Inc., said, “She had a great sense of humor, was a modest, no-nonsense woman and had incredible drive and passion.”
Hiridjee, a petite woman with a take-charge character, told WWD in 2005 that she was “convinced there is always a place for fantasy, color and audacity.” Asked what motivated her, she replied, “Love. The rest will follow.”
The couple is survived by two sons and a daughter.
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