She’s parlayed her fashion following into a flourishing accessories label, and it all comes together under the roof of her gorgeous Mosman home. Brooke Testoni gives us the tour.
Luxury basics and considered investment pieces form the foundation of Brooke Testoni’s wardrobe. It sounds straightforward, but trying to emulate the Sydney-based creative’s style isn’t as easy as following a formula. After all, it’s her discerning eye for classics that are subtly cool, combined with the enviable ease with which she wears big-ticket buys that have made her one of the most influential women within Australia’s fashion space.
Growing up in Brisbane, Testoni attributes her unstudied aesthetic to the sunshine state. “Queensland is casual,” she explains. “I have been living in Sydney for nearly a decade, and although my style has changed, I still have a very casual, effortless approach to dressing.” Just don’t mistake that laid-back attitude for not knowing exactly what she wants. Steering away from fast-fashion and overtly trend-driven pieces, Testoni favours staples that go the distance. Among her most treasured items are the first designer handbag she ever bought – vintage Chanel – and a pair of simple (read: super-chic) white Ellery pants. “Because I wear them all the time,” she reasons.
It’s this clear and confident vision that led Testoni to launch her own label, Rylan, in 2017 after her quest for the perfect handbag failed to garner the right results. “I was forever searching for a bag within that medium price range [that] didn’t have logos printed all over it,” she recalls of the gap that existed in the market at the time. “I actually never doubted myself, and just went for it.” Cue the collection of classic, buckle-front Rylan handbags crafted from cognac-coloured leather, plush velvet and rattan, all sitting comfortably under the $1,000 mark and evoking the elegance of eras past.
Gold, chain-link jewellery that possesses a similarly nostalgic quality has since been added to the Rylan range and further expansion is on the horizon. “I have big goals for the brand this year, but they focus on growing accessories,” Testoni reveals. As for whether we’ll ever see Rylan apparel? She responds with a pragmatic “never say never”.
Testoni now spends the majority of her time focusing on Rylan, juggling her bourgeoning business with being mum to her nine-month-old son, Franco. As you can imagine, no two days are the same. “I could be packing orders, running social media, shooting campaigns, or being the best mum I can be,” Testoni explains. “My life is a little manic at the moment!”
Working from home makes the balancing act a little easier. Testoni has set up an office space within the airy four-bedroom Mosman abode that she shares with her husband, Leith, and Franco. “She’s a heritage-listed gem that needs quite a bit of work,” Testoni says, affectionately, adding that she and Leith view the task of renovating the property as a chance for memories to be made. “We bought her as our family home, a project to work on over time.”
Initially drawn to the space’s high ceilings and detailed architraves, the couple knew potential was rife. “When a house has good bones, the opportunities are endless,” she says. And while the house was filled with character from the beginning, a fresh coat of paint, new lighting fixtures, and Testoni’s considered approach to interiors has transformed it into a home.
Favouring vintage and mid-century pieces, Testoni calls out the Niels Møller rosewood sideboard that sits within her formal living room as the best investment she’s made so far. “The grain in the wood is so beautiful,” she says. Warmth also comes from the rich mix of textures and tones that flow between each room, as well as the special collection of abstract art that Testoni has started to amass. “I love researching, discovering and supporting up-and-coming artists,” she shares with a smile. So far, those artists include Mattea Perrotta, Hannah Nowlan and Christiane Spangsberg, whose pieces decorate the bright white walls of the house.
Bigger adjustments are planned for the leafy heritage home, but with her business only growing and baby Franco her number one priority, Testoni is happy to tackle future renovations with that signature relaxed attitude. “Changing some of the structure and rooms of the house is next,” she says. “But baby steps!”
Photography Ana Suntay-Tanedo
Words Natalie Mell