Hong Kong Fashion Week kicked off in style yesterday with a show that was big on razzmatazz as the Trade Development Council organisers put on the first ever opening night gala. Several hundred fashion buyers, retailers, designers, exhibitors and journalists were treated to champagne and canapes in the extension of the Convention and Exhibition Centre, then led into the Grand Hall for a fashion extravaganza. Twelve of Hong Kong's most talented designers - among them Barney Cheng, Flora Cheong-Leen and Joanna Chu Liao - were invited to show their spring/ summer 2001 collections along the theme 'Palette of Eden'. A traditional catwalk was jettisoned in favour of a square stage surrounded by flora and fauna - which was also the dress code for the night. But not all designers chose to adhere to the light-and-fluffy aesthetic. 'I'm doing rock stars,' announced Flora Cheong-Leen before her show. 'Yes, there will be some flowers, but I'm going to use my South American background mixed with printed Chinese fabrics and jeans for a funky rock star look. Like a Chinese Mick Jagger gone wrong.' Other designers opted for grand evening gown looks, with plenty of beading and dazzle. Designer Benjamin Lau said his collection had been inspired by 'the sight of scattered gold flakes that fell from an antique goddess in an ancient palace' - a reminder for those in the audience not to forget that the four-day fashion festival is not entirely about business.