True to style: in conversation with Brooke Testoni

18 January 2022
By Hemma Vara

Brooke Testoni’s strong sense of vision, style and authenticity is testament to her sartorial success, both as creative director at luxury handbag brand Rylan and as a respected digital influencer.

Brooke Testoni.

Growing up in Australia, Brooke Testoni’s friends always knew she would end up forging a career in the creative industry. From conversing with Testoni, it’s clear that her work is led by an innate sense of style, which perhaps allowed Testoni’s friends to appreciate her truth long before she did. 

Testoni’s foot in the door was as a fit model for a high-end fashion designer. Making the most of the opportunity, Testoni worked in retail operations and learnt different parts of the business, from e-commerce to digital marketing. She then worked for an international denim brand, again garnering a new perspective on the business of fashion, which would be crucial for her later years. Testoni began her fashion blog around this time, and she now influences a community of 137k Instagram followers. 

They say that genuine connection is the secret to influence, and Testoni is a master at fostering connection. She has also learnt to navigate the highs and lows that come with the territory of being an Instagram influencer. Testoni explains: “To get where I am today I have stayed true to myself and my style. I have always posted fashion and interiors because that is what I love.” 

Testoni sticks to her personal style unwaveringly. She doesn’t get caught up in the influencer realm, preferring not to get too personal. And although social media can be all-consuming, Testoni uses Instagram as a creative tool, taking a healthy approach to a space saturated with product placements and copycat trends. 

Rylan mini satchel in cognac.

Testoni’s passion for style and interiors shines through on her Instagram grid. Eras of the past have shaped her modern ethos. She loves the minimalist take on mid-century Scandinavian design but also appreciates French antiques. Testoni’s focus on quality, minimalist fashion is also apparent, whether it’s a classic blazer, tailored pants, or a silk set. 

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Testoni’s instincts helped her to spot a key gap in the market. In 2016 she’d searched far and wide for a bag that had a vintage feel and wasn’t logo dominant or overly embellished. That gap in the market is how luxury handbag brand Rylan was born.

Testoni took time to plan the brand, staying true to her style and values. She first conducted detailed research, analysing the market and undertaking sampling. This approach paid off. “It was thrilling to see the traction the brand received in just the first year of launching,” says Testoni. 

And just as Testoni understands her own ethos, she understands the Rylan wearer. Testoni explains that the Rylan woman is confident in her own style and is well dressed yet effortless with it. The bags are classic, not overly engineered. They have been created to last and stand the test of time. 

Style is what Testoni attributes to her happiness and is something that has helped her navigate life as a business owner. She says, “having a business can have its low points, so if you truly love what you do, it makes it easier to get through them.”  She is also a firm believer in dressing for success. “If I am not feeling my 100 per cent happy self, I always opt for something that is comfortable but lifts my mood. I think a blazer can really change your mood. It makes you feel that little bit more empowered and motivated. If I am having an off day, I put on my favourite denim, sneakers, and blazer.” 

Testoni prefers to shop thoughtfully, opting to buy smart investment pieces for her wardrobe—a sentiment that profoundly resonates with the Rylan ethos to produce handbags that last forever.

“There have been times in my life that I have only worn about 5 per cent of my wardrobe. That is silly”, says Testoni. 

Well known for her signature style, Testoni’s go-to outfit is grey denim, white tee, black blazer, black boots, a black bag, which is currently the Rylan Black Mini Tote, and the scent Dear Polly from Vilhelm Parfumerie. 

With Rylan’s launch into online New Zealand boutique The Mercer Store, we welcome the extension of her creative realm across the ditch. “The store is beautifully curated and has a great family of designers. Both Mercer and Rylan believe in quality and have a classic, timeless aesthetic so it is a great pairing,” says Testoni. 

Testoni leaves a lasting impression as she imparts her profound words to live by: “I feel if you aren’t being true to your own style, you are always following. If I wore something and someone didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be offended. It is what it is.” 

Originally published in Fashion Quarterly Winter 2021.
Words: Hemma Vara. 

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