The French is exceptional in all things fashion, including when they are right down to the most intimate: lingerie. Princesse tam.tam is proof of this, with its three decades of creating pieces that combine elegance and mischief in one. One of the most recognizable French brands there are, Princesse tam.tam has also expanded to pieces you can wear on the beach or at home. As a result, there are more items from the brand that can become any woman’s wardrobe must-haves.
Inspired by Parisian beauty
Princesse tam.tam was an idea that came to two sisters, Loumia and Shama Hiridjee. They were originally from Madagascar but moved to Paris later, having most of their lives settled in the fashion capital. The sisters were instantly captivated by the beauty in the styles of Parisians, comparing them to home where they grew up with rarely anyone dressing up.
Inspired by what they saw, the sisters took the plunge and established their own gift shop in the Montparnasse district. Loumia’s then partner and future husband, Mourad Amarsy, who handled the business side of the company, and the sisters’ designer friend Valérie Delafosse served as the store’s foundation as well. The shop was named Princesse tam.tam after a film that starred actress Joséphine Baker. Princesse Tam Tam was portrayed by Baker as a free-spirited woman who danced and sang to her heart’s desire, each movement a symbol of her independence and strong will.
Princesse tam.tam’s first collection sold ready-to-wear clothing, but chancing upon a gem of an idea changed the course for the sisters. The undergarments they styled after men’s boxer shorts were hits among customers for the clothing’s fusing of playfulness with fantasy. Since then, the pieces designed were made along the same lines. Princesse tam.tam especially appealed to women who see themselves the same way, liberated and experimental in their sartorial choices.
Where it stands today
Princesse tam.tam has become a force to be reckoned with in the lingerie business, expanding beyond their Montparnasse shop to 158 other stores in 40 countries. The workshop remains in Paris where the whole pre-production process takes place, although it occasionally subcontracts in Morocco, Tunisia, Portugal and Asia. Such was its success that it garnered awards along the way. In 2005, it was acquired by Japanese outfit Fast Retailing, the same company that owns Uniqlo. By 2012, Princesse tam.tam became the second largest manufacturer of lingerie in France, only behind Etam, who was at the top spot, in numbers.
Until their untimely demise during the 2008 bombings in Bombay, husband and wife Mourad and Loumia led the company. Loumia remained the Design Director until the very end of her life.
Bringing in color to undergarments
Princesse tam.tam has set itself apart from the rest because of its rebellious attitude towards lingerie that stuck to black, white and flesh variations. The Hiridjee sisters envisioned a more colorful collection when they founded their company, which was a twist that French ladies were more than willing to embrace.
The colorful collection of Princesse tam.tam varied, from being young and gay to mischievous and edgy. The lace was still a staple, but the designers were more experimental in how they used the material, never shying away from audacious choices. These were all in line with the inspiration for the brand, which was Princesse Tam Tam and her liberty. The pieces encourage women to flaunt their forms without inhibitions, and the bold designs and colors definitely helped clients feel that way.
When choosing Princesse tam.tam, clients enjoy the sensual feeling of 60 percent French lace on their skin. These undergarments are made meticulously by expert seamstresses in its workshop in Paris. Part of the company’s quality control is the 10 wear tests weekly that each product has to go through. Seeking the opinion of women who wear their products is part of the company’s success.
The collaborations and the muses
The company that reinvented men’s underwear to appeal to women and included a multitude of colors to lingerie is not one to turn down a collaboration. Besides working with models-slash-actresses Camille Rowe, Delphine Depardieu and Anna Speckhart to promote the brand, Princesse tam.tam has also partnered with designers and brands when there is an opportunity of producing comfortable and quirky pieces.
Pop designer Yazbukey previously teamed up with Princesse tam.tam for the Kiss Range, a collection of swimwear and shirts that prominently displayed red lips the designer were known for. Designer Lisa Gachet meanwhile produced more tropical-themed outfits, featuring spots and palm leaves on the pieces.
Expanding on its swimwear collection, Princess tam.tam has also tapped the talents of fashion stylist and designer Elisa Nalin to create cheeky and joyful pieces that make summer even more fun. A fan of the brand, Nalin took inspiration in her sojourns to Italy as well as her love for vintage finds. Recently, Japanese fashion company Uniqlo also collaborated with Princesse tam.tam. Together, they produced swimwear with beautiful cuts and vibrant colors, stylish summer outfits that would look great for everyone on it.