If imitation is the highest form of flattery, it stands to reason that one should pick something worthy — lofty even — to imitate. That’s exactly what Levi’s® Vintage Collection has done with its reproduction of the Levi’s® Menlo Cossack Jacket famously worn by Albert Einstein.
The Levi’s® Menlo Cossack Jacket is synonymous with Einstein’s early years in the United States during the 1930s, the period in which his work achieved global notoriety and when he was seeking US citizenship. He famously wore it when he graced the cover of Time magazine in 1938, and, according to his Princeton colleague Leopold Infeld, it was his go-to top coat: “one leather jacket solved [his] coat problem for years.”
We acquired Einstein’s original jacket in 2016 at a Christie’s auction. “This jacket is just one more example of Levi’s® products authentically being at the center of culture,” says Tracey Panek, our resident historian. “Amazingly, after all these years, Einstein’s jacket retains his scent and smells of smoke. It feels so satisfying to be a part of preserving this history.”
In step with our dedication to authenticity, and with the help of Brooklyn-based perfume house D.S. & Durga, we recreated the scent of Einstein’s jacket: a warm blend of burley pipe tobacco, papyrus manuscripts and vintage leather. A bottle of this exclusive scent accompanies each jacket, along with a replica of the No. 97 auction paddle that was used to bid on this historic garment.
“This jacket is just one more example of our products being worn by people from all walks of life including the preeminent scientist of his time,” says Panek. “What’s more amazing is the intersection of these two forces in history. In 1999, Time magazine named Albert Einstein the man of the century. In the same issue, Levi’s® 501 jeans were named the fashion item of the 20th century. I’m thrilled to see we’re sharing this piece of history with our fans.”