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Image: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with Vera Wang and granddaughter Ellie
Larry Busacca  /  Getty Images
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attended a fashion show for Vera Wang, right, at the request of granddaughter Ellie, who won tickets in an auction.
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TODAY.com
updated 9/14/2011 2:00:09 PM ET 2011-09-14T18:00:09

She's sat in on a lot of important events but Tuesday, Madeleine Albright's front-row seat was at the Vera Wang fashion show in New York.

Was she there to shop for a spring wardrobe? Maybe add to her collection of signature brooches? Had she made plans to join Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian by the catwalk?

Slideshow: Celebs at the tents (on this page)

Nope. The former Secretary of State was there with a real VIP — her 9-year-old granddaughter. The girl, she told Women's Wear Daily, had won tickets in a San Francisco auction. So Albright joined her, even taking photos with Wang, WWD reported, before the show. "Vera is a real example of a woman who has achieved in this country," she told the publication.

Ann, Kathie Lee named among the best-dressed celebs

Albright, the first woman to take the Secretary of State post, has famously used fashion as a tool for communication. Her memoir, "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box," chronicles the events of her childhood in Czechoslovakia and details how she artfully employed her collection of jeweled brooches to emphasize her sparkling talking points.

Models prepare backstage at Fashion Week

On days she wanted to sting? She wore a bee. When discussing the bugging of the State Department by Russians in 1999, a giant beetle. She pinned on a snake to meet with Iraqi officials after one of Saddam Hussein's men called her a "serpent."

Story: Albright sounds off on her book, Hillary Clinton

But among the often-hissing fashion crowd, Albright held her own Tuesday. Wearing a black leather skirt and chunky gold jewelry, though no brooches, she told E! News that she "just tried to not look dowdy today."

She fit in so well among the style crowd that E! overheard Harper's Bazaar magazine editor Glenda Bailey praising her accessories — and telling the former presidential cabinet member she's a "trendsetter."

See? No pins required.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: Celebs at the tents

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  1. Celebs at the tents

    Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week gets under way in New York City, attracting celebrities eager for a glimpse of Spring/Summer 2012 lines. Take a look at stylish stars getting a front-row look at the biggest designer shows.

    Olivia Wilde
    Actress Olivia Wilde attends the Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Skylight Studio on Sept. 15, in New York City. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Tyson Ritter attends the Yigal Azrouel Spring 2012 fashion show. (Earl Gibson Iii / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Evening Sherri Hill Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jeff Schear / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb

    (L-R) Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb attend the Evening Sherri Hill Spring 2012 fashion show. (Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Nick Holmes, Virginia Madsen

    Nick Holmes and Virginia Madsen attend the Elie Tahari Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Rachel Griffiths, Patricia Clarkson

    Actresses Rachel Griffiths (L) and Patricia Clarkson attend the Douglas Hannant Spring 2012 fashion show. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Kevin Jonas

    Danielle Deleasa (L) and Kevin Jonas attend the Anna Sui Spring 2012 fashion show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Alec Gore, Beth Whitson, Melissa George

    (L-R) Actresses Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Alec Gore, model Beth Whitson and actress Melissa George attend the J.Mendel Spring 2012 Fashion Show. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Michael Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley

    Michael Lockwood and Lisa Marie Presley attend the Anna Sui Spring 2012 fashion show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sofia Coppola, Michael Lockwood

    Sofia Coppola and Michael Lockwood attend the Anna Sui Spring 2012 fashion show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Arianna Huffington

    Arianna Huffington attends the Ports 1961 Spring 2012 fashion show. (Craig Barritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Whoopi Goldberg

    Whoopi Goldberg (2nd L) attends the Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012 fashion show. (Joe Corrigan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Leelee Sobieski

    Actress Leelee Sobieski attends the Proenza Schouler Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Stephen Baldwin

    Actor Stephen Baldwin attends the Rolando Santana Spring 2012 fashion show. (Chelsea Lauren / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Alicia Keys

    Singer Alicia Keys arrives for the Proenza Schouler fashion show. (Monica Mcklinski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Michael Douglas, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Saldana

    (L-R) Actor Michael Douglas, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actress Zoe Saldana attend the Michael Kors Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Theater at Lincoln Center on Sept. 14, 2011 in New York City. (Joe Corrigan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Mary-Kate Olsen, Melissa George, Selma Blair, Ashley Olsen

    (L-R) Actresses Mary-Kate Olsen, Melissa George, Selma Blair and Ashley Olsen at FIJI Water at the J. Mendel Spring 2012 show. (Amy Sussman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Katie Cassidy

    Actress Katie Cassidy attends the QVC Fashion Week Show. (Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Julissa Bermudez, Jennifer Williams, NeNe Leakes

    Julissa Bermudez, Jennifer Williams and NeNe Leakes attends the Sachika Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jerritt Clark / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Vanessa Bayer

    Actress Vanessa Bayer poses with FIJI Water at the Nanette Lepore Spring 2012 show. (Amy Sussman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Constantine Maroulis

    Constantine Maroulis attends the Malan Breton Spring 2012 fashion show. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Leigh Lezark

    Actress Leigh Lezark attends lia sophia celebrates "Social Fashion" and debuts "boudika" Red Carpet Collection. (Anna Webber / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Serena Williams

    Serena Williams attends the Vera Wang Spring 2012 fashion show. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Olivia Palermo, Sophia Bush, Emma Roberts

    (L-R) Olivia Palermo, Sophia Bush, and Emma Roberts attend the Tibi Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Quinton Aaron

    Actor Quinton Aaron attends the Willis & Walker Spring 2012 fashion show. (Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Justin Timberlake

    Justin Timberlake attends the Oscar De La Renta Spring 2012 fashion show. (Gary Gershoff / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Kirstie Alley

    Actress Kirstie Alley wears fashions by Zang Toi during the Mercedes-Benz NY/Spring 2012 fashion week. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Jessica Szohr, Ashlee Simpson

    Actresses Jessica Szohr and Ashlee Simpson attend the Herve Leger by Max Azria Spring 2012 fashion show. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Taraji P. Henson

    Actress Taraji P. Henson poses backstage at the Herve Leger by Max Azria Spring 2012 fashion show. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Victoria Justice, Audrina Patridge

    Victoria Justice, left, and Audrina Patridge attend the Bradgley Mischka 2012 Spring collection. (Donald Traill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. David Byrne

    Musician David Byrne attends the Rodarte Spring 2012 fashion show. (Charles Eshelman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Elle Fanning, Dakota Fanning

    Actresses Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning attend the Rodarte Spring 2012 fashion show. (Charles Eshelman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Gerard Butler

    Gerard Butler attends the Diesel Black Gold Spring 2012 fashion show. (Andy Kropa / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Anna Wintour , Taylor Swift

    Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and singer Taylor Swift attend the Rodarte Spring 2012 fashion show. (Charles Eshelman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Beyonce Knowles, Solange Knowles

    Beyonce Knowles and Solange Knowles attend the Vera Wang Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Stage at Lincoln Center on September 13, 2011 in New York City. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Avril Lavigne

    Musician/designer Avril Lavigne walks the runway at the Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne Spring 2012 fashion show. (Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Michelle Trachtenberg

    Michelle Trachtenberg at the Alice + Olivia Spring 2012 presentation. (Craig Barritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Joe Manganiello, Chaske Spencer, Matthew Settle

    Actors Joe Manganiello (L), Chaske Spencer (2nd R) and Matthew Settle (R) attend the Perry Ellis Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Jordin Sparks

    Jordin Sparks at the Alice + Olivia Spring 2012 presentation. (Craig Barritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Jessica Hart, Nicki Minaj, Lynn Yaeger

    Model Jessica Hart, singer Nicki Minaj, and writer Lynn Yaeger attend the Betsey Johnson Spring 2012 fashion show. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Renee Zellweger, Olivia Munn

    Actresses Renee Zellweger (L) and Olivia Munn attend the Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 fashion show. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Kendall Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries, Brody Jenner

    (L-R) Kendall Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries and Brody Jenner attends the Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne Spring 2012 fashion show during Style360 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. (Jerritt Clark / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola

    "Jersey Shore" star Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola attended Bebe Black Collection Spring 2012 fashion at New York Fashion Week. (Jerritt Clark / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Katie Cassidy, Alexis Bledel, Michelle Trachtenberg

    (L-R) Actresses Katie Cassidy, Alexis Bledel and Michelle Trachtenberg attend the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Nate Berkus, Chris Benz, Johnny Weir

    (L-R) Nate Berkus, Chris Benz and Johnny Weir at the Chris Benz Spring 2012 presentation. (Joe Corrigan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Kelly Bensimon, Nigel Barker

    Kelly Bensimon and photographer Nigel Barker attend the Perry Ellis Spring 2012 fashion show. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Lea Michele

    Actress Lea Michele attends the Alexander Wang Spring 2012 fashion show on Sept. 10, 2011 in New York City. (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Petra Nemcova

    Model Petra Nemcova backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Joe Kohen / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Melissa George, Russell Simmons, Angela Simmons

    Actress Melissa George, mogul Russell Simmons, and Angela Simmons attend the Tommy Hilfiger 2012 Spring collection during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. (Donald Traill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell

    Models Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell attend the Edun Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. The Edge, Michael Stipe, Courtney Love, Naomi Campbell, Sting, Trudie Styler

    The Edge, Michael Stipe, Courtney Love, Naomi Campbell, Sting and Trudie Styler attend the Edun Spring 2012 fashion show on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Dwight Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Pitt

    Dwight Howard, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Pitt attend the Y-3 Spring/Summer 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Joe Kohen / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Kelly Osbourne, Leigh Lezark

    Kelly Osbourne and Leigh Lezark attend the Zac Posen Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Actress Lucy Liu attends the Erickson Beamon Spring 2012 presentation during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at The Theater at Lincoln Center on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Mariska Hargitay, Susan Sarandon, Eva Amurri

    Actresses Mariska Hargitay, Susan Sarandon and daughter Eva Amurri attend the Lela Rose Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Rachel Zoe, Rodger Berman

    Rachel Zoe and husband Rodger Berman attend the Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Victoria Justice, Omarion

    Actress Victoria Justice and singer Omarion attend the TEEN VOGUE Declare Your Denim Fashion Show on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. June Ambrose, Solange Knowles, Aisha Tyler

    June Ambrose, Solange Knowles and actress Aisha Tyler attend the Tracy Reese Spring 2012 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Jaime King, Emma Roberts

    Model/actress Jaime King, actress Emma Roberts and sister Grace Roberts attend the Jill Stuart Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Craig Barritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Nicki Minaj

    Singer Nicki Minaj is interviewed during the Prabal Gurung Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore attends the Lela Rose Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Monet Mazur, Heidi Klum, Joe Zee

    Actress Monet Mazur, model Heidi Klum and Elle fashion editor Joe Zee attend the Christian Siriano Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Vanessa Willaims, Sherri Sherpherd

    Vanessa Willaims and Sherri Sherpherd attend the Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Earl Gibson Iii / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Eddie Cibriani, Leann Rimes

    Eddie Cibrian and Leann Rimes attend the Monique Lhuillier Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Kellan Lutz

    Kellan Lutz (C) attends the Lacoste Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Cindy Ord / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Porcelain Black, Bam Margera

    Porcelain Black and Bam Margera pose at the Charlotte Ronson Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Amy Sussman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Joy Bryant, Angela Simmons, Kelly Osbourne, Nicky Hilton, Whitney Port, Holland Roden

    Actress Joy Bryant, Angela Simmons, Kelly Osbourne, designer Nicky Hilton, Whitney Port and actress Holland Roden attend the Charlotte Ronson Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Linda Evangelista

    Linda Evangelista attends the Alexander Wang Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. (Charles Sykes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Nasim Pedrad, Abby Elliott

    Actresses Nasim Pedrad and Abby Elliott attend the Charlotte Ronson Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. Vanessa Hudgens

    Designer Yoni P, actress Vanessa Hudgens and designer Juyoung attend the Concept Korea Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2011 in New York City. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Rose McGowan

    Actress Rose McGowan attends the Ruffian Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. Ashley Tisdale

    Ashley Tisdale attends the Luca Luca Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York on September 9, 2011. (Charles Sykes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Mary J. Blige

    Singer Mary J.Blige attends the Rag & Bone Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2011 in New York City. (Paul Morigi / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Lindsay Lohan

    Lindsay Lohan attends the Cynthia Rowley Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2011 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Ralph Lauren - Front Row - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
    Jemal Countess / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (74) Celebs at the tents
  2. Image: Jeremy Scott - Runway - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
    Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images
    Slideshow (36) Fun, bizarre style at New York Fashion Week

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