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R S V P : 'Just' a Furniture Maker? Hardly

October 28, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The world's most illustrious humidor designer can really bring in a crowd, even though he's not a cigar man.

Nor are all of the customers for his designs.

"We sold one to someone who wanted it for keeping the remote control of the TV in," said the designer, Viscount David Linley.

Producer Robert Bloomingdale and his wife, Justine, with Alfred Dunhill President David Salz, hosted a party for David and Serena Linley on Wednesday night.

It was filled with the kind of young, worldly people whose business cards are engraved in both English and Japanese.

"I love them--they're the cutest, nicest people," Robert Bloomingdale said of David, better known as a designer of classical hand-crafted furniture, and Serena, a painter. "I don't know a lot of royalty or that family, but they're really fun and easy."

As any royal watcher knows, "that family" includes David's aunt, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, and his mother, Princess Margaret. His father is Lord Snowdon.

Rest assured, the party guests would hear no comments on the tribulations of cousin Charles. "We have hundreds of people asking about it every day," said Ruth Kennedy, managing director of David Linley Furniture Ltd. "We're a business. We make furniture."

The event began at the Rodeo Drive Dunhill store for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, followed by dinner around the corner at the Grill, where the all-American menu included Caesar salad, grilled New York steak and fudge brownie sundaes.

After dinner, it was back to Dunhill for cigars and cognac. As for the humidor boxes, which are handcrafted of English oak, English walnut and English sycamore and retail for $1,950 and $14,000, Salz said they're hot items.

But it was the English twosome who were the focus of the evening.

"David actually works extremely hard," said Lord Bruce Dundas.

"It's not just his position that gets him through life. He needs to work like we all need to work--he just happens to come from a famous family."

"Can I tell you something? They are the most phenomenal people," Salz said of the Linleys. "You are not necessarily conscious that you're dealing with royalty."

"For a start, I'm not royal," David said. "My mother is, but I'm not. I'm basically a businessman. That's all I talk about."

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