As the global recession bites into luxury sales, store openings and events are being canceled or postponed, sample collections downsized, advertising budgets slashed, and workforces trimmed.

But corners are being cut in unexpected places, too: Once-pampered executives are flying coach; orchids are replacing fresh-cut flowers in stores and showrooms, and show invitations are being slapped with printed labels instead of painstaking, florid calligraphy.

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