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This man gave his wife 55,000 dresses over 56 years of marriage

Now they're selling them all.

By Glamour Magazine Aug 30, 2013 2:49PM

Photos: via 55 Thousand Dresses Facebookby Danica Lo

As a young man in the 1950s, Paul Brockmann worked at the seaport in Bremen, Germany. One day, a shipment came in from which he was allowed to pick out a few things he wanted. He chose 10 dresses and gave them to his then-girlfriend, now-wife Margot. That was the beginning of a glorious collection — over the past 56 years of marriage, Paul has given his wife more than 55,000 dresses.

"I was fascinated by the dresses from the '50s," he told the L.A. Weekly. "The petticoats and the wide skirts made a woman look real feminine. And that is what I really liked. When I seen a gal with a dress like that, I wanted to get her on the dance floor."

Soon, the dress-shopping became more than just a passing interest — and turned into an obsession.
Photos via 55 Thousand Dresses Facebook"I kept collecting dresses," he says. "With my wife in mind that she's gonna wear 'em. We went ballroom dancing every week, and I wanted her to have a different dress for every dance."

Now 78 years old, Paul and his wife — who'd until recently kept their massive collection of vintage dresses a secret from everyone, including their daughter, Louise, who only discovered the stash last year — are at a crossroads.

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"I walk around here and I still can't believe it," says Louise, who discovered part of the collection in her parents' garage last year — the rest of the dresses live in a warehouse space in Gardena, Calif. "Honestly, I don't think he had any idea what was gonna happen with these in the future. It's, like, what are you saving them for?"
Photos via 55 Thousand Dresses FacebookFacing mounting costs for storage — topping out at nearly $2,200 a month — Louise convinced her parents to start selling bits and pieces of their enormous collection. In the first year, they made sales to vintage stores around the country as well as larger corporations such as Urban Outfitters and ModCloth. They opened up their warehouse to teenagers, who bought dresses for prom, and to designers looking for inspiration.

Now the couple are taking to the Internet. They've launched 55thousanddresses.com, where you can browse a small selection of vintage dresses for sale, as well as a Facebook page, where dress lovers can find out how to make an appointment to visit their warehouse.

"Margot is the love of my life and has remained so to this very day," Paul writes on his website. "I followed her to the United States and was disowned by my own family for doing so back in the '50s. We first lived in the Midwest and with time traveled 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."

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What do you think about this love story laced with fashion? Talk about holding on to things for sentimental value! Is it smart — or heartbreaking — that Paul and Margot are parting with their dress collection?

Tell us what you think in the comments, below.

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Photos via 55 Thousand Dresses Facebook
80Comments
Sep 6, 2013 4:36PM
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They just don't make men like that anymore!
Sep 6, 2013 4:08PM
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A little bit over the top, don't you think?

Sep 5, 2013 4:00PM
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You go, Paul! That's incredibly romantic and sweet, and Lord knows we need a lot of that in these days of dissent and hatred.
Sep 4, 2013 1:07PM
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The most impressive thing about this is that if she can still fit these dresses over the life of her marriage, then she controlled her weight very nicely.
Sep 3, 2013 9:05PM
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What about the Smithsonian acquiring them...
Sep 2, 2013 10:39PM
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It is a 'collection' people. No different than any othr that turned into a hobby, if you will. A bit of an obsession that hurt absolutely no one. I think it is great that they are selling off pieces of the collection to people who really want it. Waste not want not. They seem like a sweet couple.
Sep 2, 2013 5:26PM
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I am betting that 54,000 of them fit him, not her.....  talk about a "closet queen"....
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