LOSING SPARKLE: Lady Helen Taylor and the Roman jeweler Bulgari are parting ways — but not for good. A report in London’s Mail on Sunday said Bulgari, hit by a downturn in luxury spending, cannot afford to keep her on the payroll to the tune of $780,000 a year. However, a spokesman for Taylor begs to differ. "She has always been an ambassador for Bulgari, and still has a relationship with the family, but it’s changing now because of her lifestyle and circumstances. She’s 39-years old and has just had her third child," he said. He declined to confirm the annual salary figure. A Bulgari spokeswoman declined to comment, except to say that Taylor remains "a close friend of the family." Taylor, the only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, had been with Bulgari for three years. She will continue her work as a fashion ambassador for Giorgio Armani.

TOP TOPPERS: What defines a queen? Well, if it’s Elizabeth II, it would be hats and handbags. The British queen has created an entire style of her own by steadfastly sticking to pillboxes and sturdy handbags (most of which, truth be told, are empty except for her glasses and a handkerchief — after all, a royal never carries grubby coin of the realm). Now, Kensington Palace plans to display more than 70 examples of the headgear the queen has worn throughout her life, as well as some of her handbags. The exhibition opens May 23 and runs through April 18, 2004, in the palace’s state apartments. The show will include work by such designers as Ange Thaarup, Kate Day, Simone Mirman, Frederick Fox and Philip Somerville.

EXCESS IN THE CITY: Pat Nixon had her old cloth coat and Sen. Hillary Clinton has her decade-old suit. When Clinton attended a breakfast-baby shower Monday for Jessica Seinfeld at Fred’s at Barneys New York, she complained she hadn’t had time to shop, so was wearing a 10-year-old black suit. Greeting many of the 75 women present — including Liz Lange, Deborah Roberts, Suzanne Yalof Schwartz, Rachel Di Carlo, Jennifer Fisherman Ruff and Bette-Ann Gwathmey — Clinton clearly couldn’t get over her style nerves — she regularly complimented many of the women on their suits.The event was to mark the birth of Seinfeld’s second child, Julian Kal, on March 1, and to raise money for Baby Buggy, a charity she founded in 2001.

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