Paul Brockman is the cutest old husband in the world. He’s been married to his wife, Margot, for 56 years, and over that time he’s bought her 55,000 dresses. He just really likes shopping for her and loves the idea of her swishing around in glamorous ball gowns.
The thing is, he’s also been keeping much of it secret over the years, because Margot is a practical and level-headed woman who likes dressing up, but chided him for his excessive dress-buying when it was just a dress or two a week. Once he filled up the garage, he started filling up shipping containers and eventually a whole warehouse, always figuring she’d wear them someday.
The Brockmans moved from Germany to Ohio in 1955, and they took up ballroom dancing once a week. Paul liked Margot to be able to have a new dress every time they went dancing, but she has always hated shopping, so he bought them for her before and after work. Sometimes he’d bring home several at a time and she would tell him he was crazy. Margot told him to stop buying dresses, but he just started hiding them in the garage, and eventually in shipping containers and then a warehouse. There are still thousands Margot has never even seen.
“If there was a dress that I liked, I could visualize what she would look like in it. And I had to have it,” he says. “Even if it was the wrong size.”
That’s so romantic I’m totally going to cry.
Brockman is a particular sucker for Dior’s New Look silhouettes, with its huge, swishy skirts.
“When I see a gal with a dress like that, I wanted to get her out on the dance floor,” he said.
The extent of the dress collection was discovered recently when his adult daughter went into the garage and found it full to the ceiling with bags of dresses on a two-tiered system of hanging rods he’d built for them.
“What the hell is all of this!?” she said.
When she asked what he intended to do with his tens of thousands of dresses, he said he intended to leave them to her. She told him to think again.
At first I was afraid this was a particularly sweet variety of hoarding, but Brockman kept all the dresses neatly bagged and hanging in his warehouse, and most of them are in pristine, unworn condition.
Since their daughter found out about the warehouse, the Brockmans have been slowly selling the collection off to vintage stores, private collectors, and stores like Urban Outfitters and ModCloth, which use the vintage pieces to create patterns for new dresses.
Paul says it has been two months since he last bought Margot a dress. That’s the longest he’s ever gone in 60 years.
They also have some of the dresses pictured online and monthly sales at the warehouse in LA. If you go, send us pictures.