By Sandra Birungi
A good love story can melt even the hardest of hearts and here is one.
78-year-old Paul Brockmann from Los Angeles collects dresses for his wife and the activity has been going on for 50 years now. Paul and his now 76-year-old wife, Margot Brockmann have been going for ballroom dancing for more than 50 years but each time, it was a different look. He went on a journey to get his wife a new dress each time they went out dancing. “I loved seeing her dance and began collecting dresses for her. I would envisage Margot dancing in the dress, the look of it, the sound of it, and buy dress after dress for her to wear when we danced,” he said.
The challenge is, they went out dancing each week. Paul said he and Margot “went ballroom dancing every week, and I wanted her to have a different dress for every dance.”
After all the years, they now have a collection of more than 55,000 dresses.
Paul used to purchase dresses at estate sales, department stores, and antique shows before, after, and even sometimes during work. Some of the dresses have never been worn though. Paul and Margot have been married for 56 years of marriage and after storing up the dresses, they have decided to sell the dresses because they are expensive to maintain.
The dresses can be bought from a website which Paul set up, 55ThousandDresses.com. Some of Paul’s favorite dresses are however are going into a vault. “I do have some of my favourites that aren’t for sale,” he said. “From the very first one I bought my wife to the one that makes the perfect swoosh sound. At the time of purchasing the dresses I really had no idea about designer names, but I am discovering dresses that date back to the 1940s from designers such as Oscar de La Renta and Vera Wang.”
Paul’s obsession to buy his wife dresses reached far and wide. He didn’t, for example, mind if the dress fit his wife or not, he just bought it. “If there was a dress that I liked, I could visualise what she would look like in it. And I had to have it. Even if it was the wrong size. You know, it’s a crazy idea, but I kept thinking maybe my wife grows into them, whether losing weight or gaining,” he said.
“‘Margot is the love of my life and has remained so to this very day. I followed her to the United States and was disowned by my own family for doing so back in the 50′s. We first lived in the Midwest and with time travelled West and settled in Los Angeles, California. The dress collection grew as I searched far and wide at estate sales, department stores, yard sales and antique shows. Always looking to buy more dresses for Margot, everywhere and anywhere I went,” he wrote on his website.
Paul is a German-born general contractor who started dancing at the age of 13. He met Margot at a dance and said she ‘changed his life’ after they fell in love. The couple have two children together.