In Conversation| Brooke Testoni
“I wear denim a lot. I think because it’s easy it’s comfortable and it can easily be dressed up and down.” “I invest in high quality, classic pieces that are going to last for a long time.”
Brooke Testoni on learning from the past and how she stays true to her vision. “When you’re working for someone else you have to kind of sit in their shoes … When it’s your own it’s great because you know who your customer is and you can do your own kind of style.” Brooke Testoni seemed fated to be a creator. The Brisbane native, who studied fashion business, graphic design and web design, moved to Sydney when she was 20 and immediately began a career in the fashion industry. “I worked for a high end designer ... Then I moved onto a denim label and then I went out on my own,” she tells us from her artfully curated home in Sydney’s Mosman.
Eras of the past play a large role in Testoni’s design, style and interior inspirations. “I have a hobby of investing in vintage furniture so I think I look to mid-century design,” she explains. “[And] music definitely has been a huge inspiration to me. I grew up listening to all old school tracks like Bill Withers and Al Green and I always have their music playing every day no matter what.”
Still, as a creative director, stylist and designer, Testoni is a woman in constant pursuit of the future classic. And if she can’t find it? She’ll make it herself. “I’ve always wanted to have my own thing,” she says. “I didn’t necessarily think I was going to have a fashion accessories brand, but about three years ago now I just thought, ‘There’s definitely a gap in the market’.” The result was Rylan, a contemporary Australian women’s label with a focus on bags and, now, jewellery.
Rylan’s carrier pieces are an embodiment of Testoni’s aesthetic vision: relaxed, enduring and refined. It’s a quality that’s made her a Nobody Denim woman. And, combined with her love of travel, sees her at home in resort-ready shades of white and neutral. At home or away, simplicity is key. “My personal style would definitely be classic, androgynous and inspired by the past,” she says. “I wear denim a lot. I think because it’s easy it’s comfortable and it can easily be dressed up and down.” As for her own design muse? Much like Testoni herself, “it’s someone who is quite effortless. She’s classic, she likes to invest in pieces that last.”
As for her own design muse? Much like Testoni herself, “it’s someone who is quite effortless. She’s classic, she likes to invest in pieces that last.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is completely different. There’s social media for the brand, there’s designing for the brand, there’s the next collections, there’s everything from press … and obviously the dreaded admin. But I have a son [Franco] too, so I have a few days with him and then I have a few days working.
How do your design work or your artistic inspirations affect your own sense of personal style?
My personal style has changed so much over time and I feel like that just happens with age. You go into the fashion industry at 20, and I’m 30 now, a decade later ... I invest in high quality, classic pieces that are going to last for a long time. I just want them to be effortless and classic.
Is there an era in the past that you are most inspired by?
I would definitely say the late 50s, early 60s would be my favourite ... That’s because it’s a lot more preppy back then, the hemlines started to come up and it was just such a beautiful era.
Are there any specific artists that you are admiring the moment?
I love Mattea Perrotta, she’s always been my favourite. I have one of her [works] at home.
You mention your love of travel – is there a place in the world that you find the most inspiring?
We love to go to Italy … Tuscany, Sardinia is probably one of our favourites. It’s still quite local … Italy as a whole I’m really inspired by – the food and the culture, but more the architecture, the interiors, everything. It’s just so beautiful.
Do you find there is added pressure working for yourself? How do you deal with that?
Of course I do feel pressure, I think that’s unavoidable, but I just do what I think is right. And people love it, or it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s fine I think. You just need to come to the conclusion that not everyone in the world is going to be your customer so you just stay true to your vision and then there’s not so much pressure.
What do you need to have around you to feel creatively inspired?