FROM a distance, she may look like Mrs Doubtfire, but closer inspection will remove any doubts about the identity of the stately matron striding purposefully from floor to floor at Pacific Place on April 8, while a camera crew follows in hot pursuit. That robust form, clad as ever in a creation calculated to send Paris into a frenzy; those startling spangled ''specs'' winging their way into a confection of mauve tresses; you've guessed it - Dame Edna Everage, once a lowly housewife from Moonee Ponds,Melbourne, and now a global celebrity. ''She will be going to six stores and looking for a special item in each of them,'' said Paul Husband, managing director of Pacific Place. ''The stores will be located on all three levels and Dame Edna will have only one hour to find everything. The concept is a sort of treasure hunt, with all the proceeds going to the Heep Hong Charity.'' Thousands will be able to witness every breathtaking moment as, Mr Husband explains, Cathay Pacific has decided to devote its May in-flight film programme to Pacific Place with Dame Edna as the host. Logistics willing, there will be extra icing on the Discovery Channel cake. ''We're hoping to include excerpts from the series of spring-summer fashion shows at Pacific Place, which will coincide with Dame Edna's visit,'' Cathay's public relations manager Jane Cowe said. ''Nothing is confirmed yet - we're still not sure if the extra filming is possible - but it will be marvellous if it comes off.'' The $1.5 million extravaganza which kicks off on Saturday at Garden Court in the Mall, Pacific Place, under the banner Fashion Debut '94, will certainly offer plenty of spectacle. While nothing on stage is likely to rival Dame Edna's fabled wardrobe, Mr Paul Husband is confident the seven 30-minute shows, held twice daily between April 2 and 10, will provide the public with an excellent guide to what's in for spring and summer. ''Our aim is to appeal to a broad audience and the shows will be fresh and exciting,'' Mr Husband said. ''Opening Fashion Debut '94 will be Esprit - the company's first proper show in Hong Kong - followed by In-Wear Matinique, Guess, Gottex, Seibu, Marks & Spencer and Bossini.'' The man responsible for staging the shows was looking more exhausted than excited on Monday and no wonder. ''Everybody is doing variations on the same theme this season and that's made our job very, very hard,'' said British fashion choreographer Alan Bailey. ''Walk into practically any store and you'll see the same look and colours - beige, beige and more beige. I'm neutralled out.'' But not stumped. The Londoner, who has given Hong Kong some of its slickest and most imaginative fashion presentations, has come up with a versatile solution. ''I've designed an archway which will be used to give each of the shows a distinctive look,'' he said. ''For example, Esprit's set will be very natural, with real grass and flowers - we can't have anything plastic for such a strongly ecological range - while for Danish company Inwear Matinique, the archway will be revealed as very hi-tech.'' Professional dancers as well as models will be featured in several of the shows including those for Guess - ''a real retro mood inspired by the Hollywood musical; it's my tribute to Bob Fosse'' - and Seibu, which should delight movie buffs. ''Seibu is exquisite,'' enthused the choreographer. ''It has the most beautiful clothes seen in Hong Kong for a long time and to convey their diversity, I'm using a lot of projected images. ''The setting will be a Bedouin-like tent, but there will be no gimmicks. I'm treating it as straight fashion and like all the shows, it will be completely self-contained. ''This is not a mall promotion, but seven launches tailored to each company.'' Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Victor Victoria, Sister Act, The Joyluck Club - Bailey has drawn from movies across the board to capture the eclectic spirit of Seibu's high fashion lineup, featuring some of the hottest names around, including Paris-based Atsuro Tayama (formerly chief designer for Cacharel) and London's Paul Smith whose latest women's wear will be shown at Pacific Place. Getting equally serious attention will be the budget-conscious collections of Marks & Spencer and Bossini - both shows will be pitched at men, women and children - while Israeli swimwear giant Gottex should have the crowds riveted. ''I'm repeating the Gottex show I did in New York and using 14 models - the best bodies in town,'' Bailey said. ''It's a very exotic collection going from the tropical jungle to North Africa and has a fabulous nautical section called 'Salute'. ''Gottex is being presented on the same day as Guess [April 6] and that really is a nightmare; just 30 minutes to change sets between the shows which will involve 28 models and dancers.'' With a whole hour to do her thing and no upstarts on the catwalk to steal her thunder - Fashion Debut '94 will take a break on April 8 - Dame Edna will be laughing. By the time the treasure hunt rolls around, the great dame should also be familiar with Pacific Place, providing the man behind her - or rather within her - finds the time to nose around. ''Barry Humphries is flying in this Friday,'' Mr Husband said. ''He loves Hong Kong and decided it would be nice to spend Easter here with his family.''