NEW YORK — Emporio Armani has never looked quite this hot.

The younger and somewhat trendier sibling to Giorgio Armani unveiled its highly anticipated underwear campaign last week featuring David Beckham.

The soccer star inked a three-year deal with Armani to appear in the sexy billboard and print campaign for Emporio Armani’s underwear collection, which will launch in the U.S. in January.

“I was a bit nervous about doing an underwear campaign,” said Beckham in an exclusive statement to DNR. “I’ve not done pictures that reveal so much, but working with the photographers proved to be great fun and I think the pictures will speak for themselves.”

The racy black-and-white campaign, which features Beckham reclining in various positions while wearing the close-fitting underwear, doesn’t launch in the U.K. until March, but is already causing quite a commotion in London. Selfridges witnessed a 50 percent leap in the sales of Armani white men’s briefs, after the British press reported Beckham as the face of Emporio Armani underwear last week. Sales of the entire Emporio Armani underwear collection were up 30 percent, the store said. “David Beckham is a global style icon, appealing equally to men and women. Where he goes, fashion is bound to follow,” said David Walker-Smith, men’s wear director at Selfridges.

Shot by renowned fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott in Los Angeles this past November, the steamy photos will debut with a special gatefold in the February edition of Vanity Fair, before a worldwide rollout in magazines and on billboards in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan and Rome.

“David has been able to transcend the world of sport and style,” said Armani of his friend Beckham. “He is one of the very few iconic sports people who is as well-known for his talent on the football field as for his style off the field.”

Although the company would not confirm how much Beckham is getting paid for the campaign, the British press has reported the contract is worth roughly $41 million dollars, or 20 million pounds.

Emporio Armani is hoping the investment will help propel the Emporio Armani brand in the U.S. As previously reported, Armani is in the midst of a major global push and, although the Emporio Armani Underwear collection has been sold in Europe for years, January will mark the line’s official U.S. debut. Armani signed an exclusive deal with Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Beginning in February, the Emporio Armani Underwear collection for men will be carried in 161 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s doors in the U.S., as well as on their Web sites and the Emporio Armani site.