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LONDON — It takes an unusual amount of sex appeal for a man to make a pair of long johns look good — and David Beckham has pulled it off.

“It was Steve McQueen that turned me on to the idea of long johns in the first place,” said Beckham at the cocktail party to mark the launch of his Bodywear range for Hennes & Mauritz in London last night.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I saw a picture of him once in long johns and a Henley [button-front undershirt] and thought how comfortable he must be. And obviously, he looked great,” added Beckham during the drinks reception at 45 Millbank, a new private members’ club.

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The long johns and Henley are just two of the items Beckham has developed in a new range for H&M. After serving as the face and body for Armani Underwear, Beckham decided to develop his own range together with his business partner and manager, the entertainment mogul Simon Fuller.

When H&M approached them and offered to roll out the line in 1,800 shops, they jumped.

“I’d like to be as big as Calvin Klein is in underwear. I’m only starting out but it’s good to aim high,” Beckham said. “I love the simplicity that he brought to men’s underwear, and that’s what it’s all about for me. Feel good and you look good.”

Beckham said he’s hoping his pared-back designs and the accessible prices of the range will help it appeal to men of all ages, from his own father to his three sons — the latter of whom he consulted during the design process, only to be told: “It’s really good Daddy, but everyone’s going to see you in your pants again.”

He said he also followed the counsel of his wife, designer Victoria Beckham, throughout the process.

Guests at the event included Charlotte Dellal, Bobby Gillespie, Katy England, Jasmine Guinness and Tali Lennox. The James Pearson trio performed as Beckham fought his way from one end of the room to the other, posing for countless photographs.

Earlier in the day, Beckham greeted made an appearance at the H&M shop on Regent Street.