WWD has questioned, †will couture’s hand-rendered and delicate seams be able to withstand the economic crisis?’

It seems for major powerhouses, the exorbitant luxury of couture for 2009 will not be phased by the state of the economy. The Paris Spring 09 couture shows started yesterday and will display a three day manifestation of extravagance by the usual suspects, including Armani Prive, Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix and Valentino. Smaller fashion houses, like that of French designer Anne Valerie Hash, however, have felt the strain and turned to showing their collections either on the internet or not showing at all.

Despite these tough economic times, †Executives at labels like Dior, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Christian Lacroix expect no drop in client attendance. Chanel’s president of fashion told WWD he expected growth in couture in 2009 (last year, the division saw a double-digit sales increase). The president of Givenchy forecasts a 20 percent increase in couture sales in 2009.’

The whimsical world of Spring 09 Couture exhibits Armani Prive’s inspiration from the East, with Geisha like Goddesses sashaying down the runway and Dior’s influence in 15th Century aristocratic Flemish paintings by Van Dyck and Vermeer with opulent layers, ruffles and embroidery.

Make sure to see the coverage of the shows, with Chanel and Givenchy showing today and Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino showing tomorrow – it may be a while before excessive luxury is within our means (Boo to recession induced lack of disposable income).

See Images and quotes via Vogue and The Cut