Giorgio Armani is launching his Emporio Armani underwear collection in the U.S. and he's tapped an icon to wear it: David Beckham.

WWD has learned Beckham has been signed as the global face of Emporio Armani underwear. Beckham was shooting the ad campaign in Los Angeles late last week with Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. The ads will break in fashion magazines worldwide beginning with the January issues.

The tie-up with Beckham is part of Armani's global push with Emporio Armani underwear, particularly in the U.S. The line has been sold in Europe for years, but will launch in the U.S. in February via an exclusive deal with Macy's and Bloomingdale's. As reported in WWD's brother publication DNR last week, the deal marks Armani's first nonlicensed product agreement with Macy's, which currently carries Emporio Armani licensed watches, fragrance, jewelry and sunglasses.

The underwear will have a soft launch at Emporio Armani stores in the U.S. next month and, in January, on the Web sites of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as well as the Emporio Armani Web site. From February, it will be carried in 161 Macy's and Bloomingdale's doors in the U.S., as well as their Web sites and the Emporio Armani Web site.

The ad campaign isn't the first time Armani and Beckham have worked together. While the soccer legend has worn Armani personally for years, he met and became friendly with the designer after Armani did the English team's wardrobe in 2002. Armani traveled to Manchester, England, where Beckham played at the time, and worked on the wardrobe with him.

Armani has been on somewhat of a whirlwind over the last few months, including the opening of a 65,000-square-foot, 12-floor flagship in Tokyo last week that is the tallest building in Ginza and cost $20 million. Following the week-long activities related to the opening, Armani traveled to Sydney, Australia, where he was feted at a dinner Friday with Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, related to the designer's funding of the Sydney Theater Company, where the couple are co-artistic directors.

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