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Springfield milliner's hats stand out: "I probably don't follow the rules"

Margie Trembley took her first hat-making class 13 years ago. Today, she sources materials and draws inspiration from around the world.
Posted at 2:16 PM, Jun 17, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, Neb. (KMTV) — In this day and time, milliners aren't found in every neighborhood. But on Main Street in Springfield, you will find one of the few in Nebraska: Margie Trembley.

  • She took her first hat-making class 13 years ago. Today, Trembley's materials and inspiration come from around the world.
  • "Different" defines her aesthetic: "I do crazy things. I used to do floral arranging, and I always did crazy things, and I never won a prize because I didn't follow the rules. And I guess you could say that with hats, too. I probably don't follow the rules."
  • Trembley's work has been featured in some of the most revered museums and magazines. The time required on each piece varies. The cost averages $400.

Continue reading for the expanded story, as featured on-air. Credits for photos included: Model Avalon Huddleston, Develop Model Agency and Kathy Rae Photography.
What she does is so distinct, an explanation may be in order.

"Sometimes, people that make men's hats are called hatters. And people that make women's hats are called milliners," Margie Trembley, founder and designer of Margie Trembley Chapeaux, explained.

Having worked in different types of art and design throughout her life, Trembley found her way to millinery 13 years ago. She makes most pieces from scratch.

There's international influence in her design, but even more so, in the materials she uses which Trembley sources from all over.

"Australia, the UK, from Ireland or whatever. Because they're different," she shared.

'Different' is central to what Trembley does - and who she is.

"I do crazy things. I used to do floral arranging, and I always did crazy things, and I never won a prize because I didn't follow the rules. And I guess you could say that with hats, too. I probably don't follow the rules," she said, smiling.

But in the realm of millinery, her creativity is embraces. Her hats have shown in some of the most revered museums and magazines.

She recounted being at one event with a model sporting a pink, geometric brim hat, when she was stopped by a photographer.

"... and I said, 'Who are you with?' And she lifted up her little press tag... and she said, 'Vogue.'"

Trembley said, the next day, her creation was featured online.

With horse racing, springtime is a busy time for a milliner. Trembley also makes pieces for weddings and special events. Most are custom to what a woman wants. The average cost is around $400.

Even more valuable than a one-of-a-kind, may be Trembley's example. She was 65 years old when she took her first hat-making class, having no concern that it was too late to go for it.

"I love to learn. I love artistic things. I've tried all kinds of things. And when this came along, it just became a passion for me," she said.

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