Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

David Beckham

What do you get the man who has everything? Ask David Beckham. The British soccer star, now playing his club game for Real Madrid, is idolized by men for his athletic prowess and by women for his devilish good looks. He is not the first athlete to enhance his star status by playing the glamour card, but he is quite possibly the best. A bronze statue in Thailand is testament to his iconic powers—as is the crazed fan who reportedly licked every toilet seat she could access in a fashionable hotel in hopes of tasting one he had used.

Beckham, 29, is an icon of modern masculinity at a time when gender roles are changing faster than runway styles. He has been known to don sarongs and even his wife's panties, the better to set off his pink nail polish. It ain't easy being the metrosexual pinup boy, but Beckham doesn't flinch from the term. With seemingly a different hairstyle each week—he has gone from skinhead to fauxhawk to dreads to a ponytail —he keeps hair salons worldwide flooded with followers eager to mimic his style.

Though the British tabloids have been full of stories that the marriage is on the rocks, Beckham's star wattage is only enhanced by his glam wife Victoria (a.k.a. Posh Spice), a style icon in her own right. "We think that David Beckham is one of the contemporary icons, a reference point, internationally acknowledged by millions of men and women," say designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. "We are inspired by his positiveness, by his beauty, for being an excellent athlete." Now that's metrosexual.

Salzman is an author and the chief strategy officer of RSCG Worldwide

From the Archive
Brand It Like Beckham: The world's best-known sports star follows the money