Madeline Albright’s fashion tribute to Saddam Hussein

DENVER — Some folks in the public eye have a trademark.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his cigarette holder.  Albert Einstein had his signature locks.

“I wore it when I was being sworn in,” says former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of her trademark, the broach. “I’ve always liked jewelry but it really got started, and it never would have happened, if it hadn’t been for Saddam Hussein.”

That would be Saddam Hussein the dictator, not Saddam Hussein the fashion consultant.

Albright was called a “serpent” by Hussein’s regime.

In subtle response, Albright happened to have a snake pin. “So I decided to wear it when we were doing Iraq,” she told us.

Albright was on to something.

“And then I thought, ‘this was fun.’ So I went out and bought a bunch of costume jewelry that would reflect what I thought we were going to do on any given day.”

Now you can get up close and personal with some of Albright’s pins at the Denver Art Museum. Over 200 are on display, reflecting only a small portion of her entire collection.

And Madame Secretary’s favorite pin? A small ceramic heart made by her daughter.

“It’s Katie’s heart, and I love that.”

The broach to Madeleine Albright isn’t just a piece of jewelry, but something that carries a message and emotional feeling.

Something that links one person to another. Sometimes one person to a dictator.