We speak to Li Gorman, owner of Pan Pan Bridal in Edinburgh, about the highs of running a boutique
Photography by Hamish Campbell
Pan Pan began 18 years ago as a bespoke dressmakers. We were increasingly asked to create wedding dresses and fell in love with the process and so, nine years ago, we decided to make bridal our focus.
Because quality is important to us, we choose our designers carefully. We have sole distribution rights in the east of Scotland for Jenny Packham, who is well-known for her glamorous vintage gowns. We stock David Fielden because we love the elegance of his designs, and Naomi Neoh and Caroline Castigliano for their romantic gowns. We import Paloma Blanca from Canada, and the amazing Watters Brides and Badgley Mischka from the USA. For bridesmaid dresses, we have the JLM Occasions collection, Watters and Twobirds. A bespoke service is also available in-house for one-off designs and mother-of the-bride outfits. Our own Pan Pan Couture label, launched four years ago, offers cutting-edge design.
We try to offer good value for money. High-end design does not come cheap, but some customers can be very lucky on our sample rail.
A Pan Pan Bridal bride is no particular age, shape or size: she is someone who appreciates quality, craftsmanship and style. Above all, she is someone who wants to look and feel extra-special on the biggest day of her life.
Trying on dresses on dresses is always done through an appointment system so that every customer receives our undivided attention. On her initial appointment, a bride will be given a consultation where we listen to her requirements and carefully record her personal profile. Professional advice is always available. She may make as many subsequent appointments as she requires. She, and any guests, will always receive the same undivided attention.
We saw a move in 2014 towards softer colours like blush, peach and champagne. Fabrics were softer too, such as chiffon, organza and brocade. Lace remained prevalent. Sleeves and straps have been making a comeback. I think we will see the above trends continuing in 2015. Full-skirted, fairytale dresses are always in demand, but at Pan Pan Bridal we also sell elegant, sophisticated styles alongside vintage and quirky gowns as well.
What motivates us most is seeing a bride’s eyes light up when she puts on the dress of her dreams; nothing makes her look more beautiful. Our feedback consistently reflects high levels of customer satisfaction. That is what we are most proud of.
My mother is my biggest influence. I studied tailoring at her elbow, and the art of good cutting and attention to detail. She emphasised the importance of integrity and reliability for any business and taught me always to treat staff and customers with the greatest of respect. My mother is very artistic and two of my siblings are well-known artists and so my creativity as a designer obviously comes from her side of the family.
Our dream bride is the one who looks good in almost any gown, but our favourite brides are the ones who are more restricted by shape or size and for whom we manage to find something that makes them look beautiful.
A bride should avoid stressing over her body image and be open-minded about styles. That way she will find the dress of her dreams.
Come with some idea of what type of dress you would like but do try to keep an open mind about other styles. That way, you will be absolutely sure about your final choice. If you don’t know which cut suits your body shape, don’t be afraid to seek advice.
You don’t want to spend your wedding day holding your breath or hitching up bodices, so make sure your dress is a comfortable fit and that you wear comfortable shoes.