The largest dress collection in the world isn’t in a designer’s warehouse: It’s at Paul and Margot Brockmann’s house.
“If I saw a dress that I really liked, well, I bought it,“ says Paul, 83, who’s kept his wife of 61 years in 55,000 dresses, which fill their East Mesa, Arizona, garage, one specially designed closet and three 50-foot-long containers.
Paul’s love affair with dressing Margot dates back to the night they met, at a dance hall in their native Germany. (Margot can’t remember the dress, but says “it was pretty nice, according to him.”)
“When I walked in, there was Margot,” Paul recalls. “We danced all night and we fell in love.”
Since then, he’s gifted her with dresses, most of them secondhand and vintage, in keeping with Paul’s love for the fashions of the ’50s. “That’s the time when they had wide skirts and petticoats,” he says. Most were bought at garage sales and closeouts. Paul even hooked up for a time with Sears: “When the styles were changing, they would call me up and sell me the dresses at a very reasonable price.”
Bargains or not, he bought her last dress in 2014, when the couple simply ran out of room. Paul hopes to sell the whole collection en masse, keeping some 200 for Margot. They just selected her dresses for their trip to a German Karneval celebration in Las Vegas this weekend.
“One of them is long, it’s peach-colored tulle,” Paul reports, “and the other, shorter one is a green satin.”
So what does Margot think of all this?
“She’s not,” he concedes, “that much into dresses.”
Paul Brockmann has partnered with Evolution Vintage to sell the dresses. For more information, go to evolution-vintage.com.
By Suzy Weiss, Chris Beer, Heather Hauswirth