White House chief florist Laura Dowling leaves after 'clash of styles' with First Lady Michelle Obama


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The Independent US

The White House is at the centre of an unfragrant stink after the head florist left because her style no longer suited First Lady Michelle Obama.

Reports said that Laura Dowling, who took on the post with some fanfare in 2009, left because her “fussy" style was not in line with that of Mr Obama.

Ms Dowling was apparently escorted from the White House on February 13, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, and such was the hush-hush nature of the incident that news is now only emerging.

Ms Dowling was reportedly hired after a reality TV show-style selection process involving other candidates who were tasked with creating several arrangements, including one for a mock state diner. Ms Dowling, known for her so called organic and French styling, won the contest and replaced retiring florist Nancy Clarke, who had held the top post for three decades.

The Washington Post said that in recent months Mrs Obama wanted to go in a new direction. “Dowling left because her fussy style was not in line with the First Lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics,” the paper said.

Mrs Obama’s office did not immediately respond to inquiries.

A statement issued to the newspaper said: “Chief Florist, Laura Dowling and her team treated guests of the White House to their beautiful floral arrangements Ms Dowling’s creations were always lively and colourful, reflecting not only the season but the unique and historic rooms which they graced.”

Ms Dowling also issued her own statement, albeit through her lawyer. “After almost six years as Chief Floral Designer at the White House, I have resigned in order to pursue exciting new opportunities and explore my passion for floral artistry and design,” it said.