Style icon: Madelaine Albright*

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*Actually it’s her use of a good pin (brooch to the British)

Madelaine Albright got her first job (after bringing up her daughters) at 39, which sets her up as a great example for women going back to work after kids (she became the first female US Secretary of State in 1997 so she did all right), but it’s her use of a well chosen pin/brooch during diplomatic meetings that really put her into our style icon category.

Madelaine’s pin collection is on display at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and TWR popped in to see it last week. The pins are lovely but what really resonates is her sense of humour and determination to create a very strong message through wearing her pins. After Saddam Hussein’s poet refered to her as a bit of a snake, she wore a pin with a serpent on it to her next meeting. The above pin was designed so both she and anyone she was having a meeting with could see the time progressing. She wore a lovely bold zebra brooch to meet Nelson Mandela and her favourite one was a hand made clay heart made by her youngest daughter when she was little for Valentine’s day.

Eventually, politicians, journalists and diplomats would check out Madelaine’s brooches for the additional message they might carry, she encouraged people to ‘read her pins’. We are thinking of taking this up here at The Women’s Room as a diplomatic technique to be used during family gatherings, like say, Christmas (the dagger brooch might be one to be on alert for…).

The MAD museum is something of a treasure for creative people and we would encourage a visit on your next trip to NYC, if it helps, there’s a terrific gift shop and it’s very close to the shopping on Columbus Circle and Fifth Ave. Madelaine’s book on her pins is worth getting for jewellery enthusiasts.

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