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updated 22 Aug 2014, 11:56
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Sun, Feb 17, 2013
The Straits Times
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Getting intimate with Becks
by Rohaizatul Azhar

David Beckham tells ROHAIZATUL AZHAR about his third bodywear collection for H&M. While the current professional buzz about British footballer David Beckham surrounds his joining the French football club, Paris-Saint Germain, he is also generating heat off the pitch - in a new TV commercial for his bodywear collection for H&M.

In the ad, directed by Guy Ritchie, Beckham runs across Beverly Hills dressed only in a pair of army green boxer briefs.

The commercial has been playing on billboards outside H&M stores around the world since last Thursday.

Launched last year, the David Beckham Bodywear Collection for H&M is a line of undergarments and loungewear for men priced from $17.90 for a pair of briefs to $59.90 for a three-pack trunk set. His third collection for the Swedish retailer launched last Thursday.

Unlike most underwear ads where the sexual element is emphasised, this campaign plays on humour. In an exclusive e-mail interview with Urban, Beckham, 37, explains: "We wanted to make something different from the usual bodywear commercial and have a bit of fun with it."

The clip (ct.hm.com/share/p61/VTnvZg#), which lasts 1min 40sec, starts with the footballer's bathrobe getting caught in the car door as he waves goodbye to his on-screen family. Determined to get it back, he chases the car but fails. The short film ends with him standing in his boxer briefs in front of a busload of tourists armed with cameras.

"It was good fun working with Guy as he's a great director and also a friend," says Beckham. "When he came up with the storyline, I couldn't say no, even if it meant me running the streets in my boxers."

The footballer, who has wowed sports fans since making his first team debut with Manchester United in 1992, admits that he is still not used to seeing larger-than-life images of himself.

In an interview with news agency Associated Press last week, he said: "No matter how many campaigns I do with H&M, I will never get used to seeing myself on billboards. I'm lucky to work with such great photographers and stylists, so the images are always the best they can be."

Not that he has anything to worry about. The former captain of the English football team has been named countless times as one of the sexiest men alive by a slew of international glossies, including GQ, Esquire and People magazine.

A savvy businessman, the father of four has turned himself into a lucrative brand, lending his name to popular products from Samsung phones to Giorgio Armani underwear.

The latter reportedly saw a significant increase in its annual gross turnover after Beckham starred in its underwear ad in 2008.

That year, Forbes reported the Italian fashion label made 31 million euros, double the 16 million euros it made in 2007.

On his new H&M line, Beckham stresses that he is very much involved in the whole process.

"The bodywear collection was created by my own team and I had full input throughout the process. I take my own products very seriously, and anything that has my name on it has to be right," he says. "We spent 18 months developing the collection, looking at the design and fit of each garment and also what each piece felt like to wear."

Of course, having a wife who is a celebrated fashion designer does not hurt either. Beckham is married to former Spice Girl, Victoria Adams, who debuted her own fashion line, Victoria Beckham, in 2008 and was named Designer of the Year in 2011 at the annual British Fashion Awards.

"I often bounce ideas off Victoria," he reveals.

"She has given me some great advice about focusing the collection so that it is about the core product, and to make pieces that men can trust and rely on."

Despite his commercial success, Beckham is not one to forget his roots. He says his passion will always be football.

"Everything I've done in my career has been a result of my being a footballer first," he says. "If it hadn't been for football, I wouldn't have had all of these amazing experiences and opportunities."

rohai@sph.com.sg

BECKHAM ON UNDERWEAR

1. How is the new bodywear collection different from the previous ones?

My bodywear range with H&M is built around a set of core styles which stays the same each season, so that men always know they can come to H&M to get their favourite pieces, such as briefs, boxers and boxer briefs. Occasionally, we introduce new colours, as we have with this collection. In the commercial, I'm wearing the boxer briefs in one of the new utility shades, which are great alternatives to the classic white.

2. Any plans on working with H&M for a bigger collection beyond the bodywear range?

I'm really happy with my bodywear range for now. The great thing is that we can add pieces to the core range. I was happy to add loungewear pieces to the collection, such as the lounge jerseys, long johns and the morning gown. When I'm relaxing at home, it's great to throw these on.

3. What do you hope to achieve with this bodywear collection?

Men are very particular about their choice of underwear and we offer a range of different styles. Besides briefs, we have trunk briefs, boxer briefs, and boxers. So, hopefully, men will find what they need in the collection.


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