Meruert Tolegen defines the quintessential global creative director bringing her multi-cultural background and American entrepreneurial spirit to design and business. Tolegen was born in Kazakhstan but left when she was five. Her family departed the former Soviet Union Republic to immigrate to the United States, settling in suburban California. Her grandparents were influential in her background. "My grandfather was a Kazakhstan politician in public relations and passionate about helping others, but he was also creative and design-conscious," she explains. She grew up in a house he designed full of art and beautiful objects collected through his travels, creating beautiful interiors.
The home's top floor was designed as a Yurt, a typical dome-shaped dwelling hand constructed from wool and carried by the nomads as they traveled. "My grandfather recreated this as a small room where I used to sit and draw mountains I'd see outside the windows," she recalls. Her grandmother instilled the craft of sewing and crochet, passing on these handicrafts as well as her knowledge of flowers through the floral garden she tended.
Academically Meruert's background is in science, specifically bioresearch. She met her husband in San Francisco, bonding by the love of science. They currently reside in downtown New York City with their two children. Her multi-cultural lifestyle and upbringing give her design work a truly unique perspective.
Despite a scientific background, Tolegen was always creative though lacking an outlet. She first applied this creativity to a children's clothing collection, "La Petite Anaïs," which she runs separately from her namesake brand and sells through an e-comm boutique. Still, design yearnings beckoned for more, and she developed the womens ready-to-wear collection during the Covid-19 confinements. She cultivates a beautiful home with an inviting atmosphere, which further identifies Tolegen's love of design.
As for the 'why now' of Tolegen's clothing launch, the founder and creative director felt it was an urge to fulfill. "My love of quality fabric and careful, thought-out garment con- struction and the small details it involves compelled me to try this and not regret missing my opportunity. The timing aligned for me to take the leap now."
Photo: Max Hoell