Human Flower Project
At Home with Chaos
The Obamas are poised to hire a new First Florist, a fan of chaos and French style.
Laura Dowling, said to be the top contender for post of White House florist
Photo: Parisian Events
The latest presidential rumor here in the U.S. is human-flower gossip. Washington Post sources say that Laura Dowling, a Francophile from Alexandria, Virginia, will likely become the new White House florist.
“In June, chief florist Nancy Clarke retired after 31 years in the mansion, and there was speculation that Michelle Obama wanted a more contemporary look for flowers. Two weeks ago, three designers slipped into the White House for a tryout: Each created a state dinner centerpiece, flowers for the Oval Office, etc.—and Dowling’s romantic French look apparently won the day.”
Brimming—an arrangement by Laura Dowling
Photo: Laura Dowling
We suppose that by “romantic” the Post writers refer to Dowling’s less staid approach. She describes her aesthetic as French (her shop in Old Town has an accent: Intérieurs et Fleurs). “It is this combination of wild chaos and strong artistic vision that I find so compelling in the French style,” said Dowling in this interview.
She continues: “it’s important to incorporate a broad range of materials – an entire landscape, if you will – into the French bouquet.” And indeed you will see lots more vines, leaves, and shaggy looking vegetation in her arrangements, as if a very discriminating scythe has swept over a meadow and all the plants were scrunched into a big ol’ crock. Delightful and, on closer inspection, fascinatingly intricate.
Check out her website for many examples. The first word we think of is “bunchy.” Is that a word? Also, “soft,” “ornate,” “fuzzy,” “crowded,” and “happy.”
Who are (or were) the other finalists who tried out with state-dinner centerpieces? If you know, please rumor us. But we very much like the idea of president who finds “wild chaos” (and the French) appealing.