THORPEWEAR: He turned 21 on Monday, and Ian Thorpe is giving himself an unusual coming-of-age present: his own branded line of men’s underwear.

Although still under wraps at press time, WWD understands the range — to be called IT — is being unveiled in a parade Oct. 29 in Sydney, in which Australian swimming’s triple world record holder and triple Olympic gold medalist will also model.

Manufactured by Melbourne intimate apparel maker Mitch Dowd, distributed exclusively through the 36-unit department store chain David Jones, the IT range launch is apparently also to be accompanied by a series of promotional images shot by Australian photographer James Houston — who is well-known for his black-and-white nude portraits of Australian athletes and dancers.

This is not the Thorpedo’s first fashion foray. In May 2002, he launched the Ian Thorpe Collection of jewelry through Sydney-based pearl marketing company, Autore South Sea Pearls: a neck and wrist piece, each composed of sterling silver, santoprene and a single pearl. They have sold through various Australian outlets and Browns of London.

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