Central Saint Martins’s 2022 Grads Treat London—and Madonna—to a Blast of Colorful Optimism

There was a double-decker runway, 115 student collections, and Madonna in the front row. Whatever horrors are assailing the world, the Central Saint Martins fashion class of 2022 managed to trounce adversity: Their graduation show was a wildly uplifting carnival of mobile sculpture, pinging color, and Gen Z magical thinking.

Madge had manifested because her son Rocco Ritchie has reportedly enrolled in one of the many CSM fashion courses. There are a lot of them. When this cohort entered the school everyone knew they were going to face a feared internal selection jury, and potentially the chop, before making the press show, but now there’s been an egalitarian revolution. Brought on by Covid and student discontent around equality and inclusion, the college has permitted every student their runway space. It seemed to only up the collective ante on compressing their fantasies, ethics, and experiments with techniques into three exuberant looks.

Is it a generational rebellion against two years of flat-screen teaching that made a vast number of students want to occupy life in the round? Varieties of 3-D shapes kept coming: huge hoods and horizontal four-foot wide head-dresses, kites, spiraling cages, cylinders, panniers, hoops, and wadded, padded and pointy structures made out of everything from crochet to plaster to bioplastic. Together, they sent fashion’s commonplace concept of ‘oversize’ into a whole different dimension.

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