London-based menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner and photographer Harley Weir have a history of working together on films that spotlight alternative views of masculinity around the world. While previous films have seen them travel to India and Senegal, the latest – entitled ‘Practice’ – centres around Leroy Mokgatle, a 17-year-old ballet dancer from Pretoria, South Africa.
Styled by frequent collaborator Tom Guinness, the short film debuted at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in June. It follows Mokgatle through a collage of dance scenes that span from Johannesburg to Cape Town, where he interacts with a suburban environment which becomes his unconventional stage. Dressed in Wales Bonner’s AW17 collection, he prances up escalators and spins around store fronts before ending in a dimly-lit nightclub, dancing on a pole. Adding to the atmosphere is the score to the film, provided by Dev Hynes – AKA Blood Orange.
“Film feels like a rich medium through which to expand my world, opening up new possibilities for collaboration, research, and communication,” said Wales Bonner about her choice to present the clothes in this way. “Harley’s eye and Dev’s intuition really brought this to life. I have been so motivated and inspired by the team, and the dancers I met along the way. The film is a testament to them.”