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What does a uniform do?

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Take two office-blue shirts. This one by Wales Bonner forms a hazy aura. Ayuol’s belt is by Stefan Cooke, and her earrings and watch are by Cartier.

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These macro shirt cuffs descend like bells to these gracefully flared trousers, both by Sacai. Chitose Abe uses precise tailoring to create this outsize cuff, sweeping from the elbow to frame, or envelop, the hand. Earrings by Cartier provide a point of light.

Uniforms are designed, variously, to create visual equity, to denote difference in authority or access, to inspire fear or familiarity, and to suppress individuality and promote the collective. They also offer endless opportunities for play and personalisation.

Coco Chanel began working with tweed after a love affair with a Scot. It became a Chanel signature. Ayuol, our model, grew up far away from either France or the Highlands in Perth, on the green west coast of Australia, with hungry crocodiles to the north and profound desert to the east.

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Lines stream from the central hem on this dress by Stefan Cooke, opened out like washing on a line. Ayuol’s earrings are by TASAKI.

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The uniform represents a link between utility and ideology.

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The inverted V of this prairie-print cotton dress by S.S.Daley reveals a slither of shorts by Aspesi, with brogues by Stefan Cooke. The homesteader heads to the office.

Ayuol's dress by Shang Xia is simplicity itself, made from layers of stretch cotton. Shoes by Manlo Blahnik provide an ornate platform.

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Unusual tailoring technique sends a second seam running across the shoulder of this jacket by Eftychia. Even the jeans are cut on a bias, making them, as Ayuol notes, as comfortable as pyjamas. Her earring and ear cuff are by TASAKI.

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Italian craftwork meets the print genius of Duro Olowu in this dress and jacket, both from his collaboration with MAX&Co.

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Cartier has introduced a sleek update to its classic Tank Française watch. Its silver sheen meets the rows of rivulets that stud Ayuol’s shirt cuff by Wales Bonner.

Ayuol’s sheer dress by Marine Serre – who also created her jeans and shoes – is made from a patchwork of vintage silk scarves. Silk’s translucent properties make it almost luminous, a spring evening.

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Muccia Prada writes of this season that: “The most honest thing we can do is to create something useful for people today – to face reality in, and frame the idea of our reality through clothes.” This Prada cotton dress is raw-edged to the navel but adorned with fat silk and velvet flowers. It is balanced between utility and elaboration, a response to political and cultural excess. The touch of crudeness places the look in a human frame, describing the way that reality is made up as much of accident as intention; imperfectly ongoing instead of pristine.

Hundreds of hearts to mark a century of Akris: this print references the first made for the brand by Como-based manufacturer Gianpaolo Ghioldi.

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A uniform places particular emphasis on the behaviour of the viewer; it requires that an interaction be conducted according to the rules. School uniforms – a peculiarly British institution – are intended to both minimise individuality and encourage tidiness. The uniform’s very uniformity, however, can highlight difference and divergence – see the resurrection of the tartan skirt by punk.

A uniform obscures its wearer as much as it marks them out. Schiaparelli, by contrast, lets the individual take centre stage, exploding this white shirt dress at the cuffs and drawing out the bust. These are items that wish to be seen – and which might see you too.

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Ayuol sports a coat, jacket and jumpsuit by Moncler. The skirt of the jacket admits an amber light like an old sail taking wind.

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This tasselled bag by Victoria Beckham (who also created Ayuol’s dress) looks like a squat Pekinese or a Lion’s Mane mushroom. Nao, the hair stylist, tackles the bag with a wide-toothed comb to make its silky strands lie smooth.

Perhaps the bag echoes, too, the judge’s wig – reminding us that something can go from distinguished to ridiculous to elegant and back again. In other words, uniforms – designed to establish clear power relations – are subject to aesthetic sedition. Power, as much as style, requires continual reinvention.

Photography: Sohrab Golsorkhi-Ainslie/Styling: Caroline Issa/Hair: Nao/Make-up: Seunghee Yoo using YSL Beauty and M.A.C Cosmetics/Casting: Tytiah at Unit C/Photography assistant: Luca Strano/Styling assistant: Nicole Pereira/Production assistant: Harry Woodcock/Model: Ayuol at MiLK Model Management