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Dumpy frump a fashion disaster

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DIANA would be amused. Her successor and former rival, Camilla Parker Bowles, failed spectacularly in her attempt to wow Manhattan society with her sartorial splendor last night.

Dressed in an unflattering Anthony Price navy velvet frock with a fussy oversized chiffon collar, the Duchess of Cornwall arrived at a chi-chi cocktail party looking more like an escapee from the choirboy pew of Westminister Abbey than the guest of honor.

Despite the fact that she is traveling with an army of wardrobe consultants ("Team Camilla"), the duchess couldn't seem to put a sartorial foot right yesterday.

Earlier, Camilla caused quite a stir when she chose an eye-popping raspberry suit for her visit to Ground Zero. While the vibrant wool-crepe suit, with velvet wing-cuffed sleeves and a matching collar designed by Brit Roy Allen ensured the hatless blonde stood out from a sea of dark suits, it was a decidedly odd choice for such a solemn occasion.

Camilla, who patronizingly dissed Diana's passion for fashion as birdbrained, has herself become a servant to style since her wedding seven month ago.

We predict an "off-with-their-heads" ruling to come down on the core team who were supposed to create the "Camilla Chic" glamour on this trip: hairdresser Hugh Green, celeb makeup artist Julie Biddlecombe (other clients include Jade Jagger), personal assistant Amanda McManus and "a secret dresser," whose identity is fast becoming a gag in fashion circles.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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