THE much hoped for supermodel didn't transpire, but the clothes went down a treat as Hongkong took centre stage at Igedo, Germany, the world's biggest fashion trade fair. The triumphant display was witnessed by almost 700 dignitaries who gathered for a gala show featuring 17 of the territory's most prominent and up-and-coming designers and fashion houses. The extravaganza marked the opening of the three-day fair at which Hongkong has been accorded the honour of being Igedo's first-ever Asian ''fashion partner'' and swiftly scotched lingering suspicions that ''Made in Hongkong'' stands for derivative. Taking a calculated risk, the organiser of the gala, the Hongkong Trade Development Council, went for eclectic rather than safe and presented not just established names, but several hot young talents who scored at Fashion Week '93 - among them three winners at the Young Designers' Show. The result was a strong cross-section which covered all the seasons, emphasised Hongkong's flair for quality, made much of knitwear and promoted the message that the territory's fashion future lies in original design with a distinctive flavour. Most daring was Peter Lau, whose revealing separates in dayglo colours recalled 1930s Berlin at its most risque, while ''bad boy'' of Hongkong fashion, William Tang, came a close second with the look that has become his signature - Oriental avant garde with a twist. Although the eccentricities provided entertainment, wearability and workmanship scored higher with the Germans. Winning the biggest applause was veteran designer 39-year-old Danny Yu, who presented beautifully-styled classic ensembles in sandwashed crepede chine lined with wool flannel. With the finale came the only disappointment at the gala - at least in the eyes of the Igedo people, who had hoped Hongkong would send one of its top models to the event, but instead got the petite Patsy Lau, first runner-up in the Miss Hongkong Pageant and holder of the Miss International Goodwill title. ''After bringing one of our top models, Sophie Rosentreter, to Hongkong recently, we were expecting the TDC to choose someone of similar calibre,'' an Igedo official said. ''We're not too sure what to do with Ms Lau. Unfortunately, she is much too short for catwalk work and doesn't seem to have had any modelling experience.'' About 50,000 visitors are expected at the fair.