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[images: Kirsten Borst / FabSugar UK]

Laura Silver writes...

Summer is upon us and that can mean only one thing for the fashion calendar. Nope, it doesn't (just) mean it's time out get out your best Cavalli frocks and head for the nearest Yacht, it means Britain's fresh, young fashion talents get to display their finest wares at Graduate Fashion Week.

This year's schedule kicked off on Sunday with collections from students of The University of Central Lancashire. Amongst the twenty collections shown there was an eclectic mix of styles, but a sense of femininity in the form of soft flowing lines and delicate sheer fabrics seemed a common theme throughout many of the collections.

The most notable were Maria Manfredi, whose blue and white striped collection nodded to the nautical trend for Spring/Summer 2008. Rouching added a touch of sexy femininity to this season's key slouchy Pyjama style all in one while fish tails, rouching and bows lent a feminine curve to dresses.

Softening a traditionally masculine style was Lyndsey Cottingham who added a girlish twist to cowboy inspired pieces. White cotton shirt dresses, trimmed with the stock cowboy piping effect and metal collar points, were cut into billowing A-Lines and high-waisted ballerina skirts and decorated with brightly coloured appliqué.

Bringing an ethereal mood to the show was Sarah Richards, who combined loose, fine, almost spider web-like, knitted skirts with smooth satin bodices and trims in both mossy teal and soft grey. Sequins were subtlety sprinkled amongst the lustrous folds of the knit skirts to create almost fairy like dresses that were quite stunning.

Menswear collections featured smart, sharp suits, while there were plenty of tribal prints to be found amongst the flowing, feminine sheers. [Laura Silver]