Superman is well-known for, among other things, the bright red underpants he wears over his tights. Generations of boys have grown up wishing to emulate the superhero, although few have opted to turn their undies into outies. And besides, as we ladies well know, it takes a lot more than a flashy pair of drawers to make a man heroic
Thanks to Emmanuel Loheac, founder of French underwear brand Pull-in, however, gents can now reprise the superhero obsessions of their youth in intimate fashion. Loheac has taken drawings from Hong Kong's most famous kung fu comic saga, Fung Wan ("Wind and Cloud"), by Ma Wing-shing, as the template for a collection of men's briefs.
"Be bold, stand out, pull in," is how Loheac - a former computer engineer who in the late 1990s discovered a hole in the men's underwear market - describes his philosophy. Underpants, he says, should be a means of "expression, a reflection of one's personality and aspirations".
The collection coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Fung Wan series, which follows the two main protagonists - Nip Fung (Wind) and Bou Ging-wan (Cloud) - as they journey from boyhood to become legendary fighters, and was showcased at last week's Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong event at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The limited-edition set includes 250 pairs each of two designs. One features a colourful all-over print of members of the saga's Tin-ha-wui ("Under Heaven Clan") demonstrating their martial arts moves; while the other is based on a page from the comic book series itself.
Meanwhile, Pull-in - which has also released a Star Wars collection - boasts that the garments' Invista Lycra material can stretch up to seven times its original size without distorting the images of the characters. We're not sure Superman's get-up had powers like that.
The underpants (HK$469 a pair) in the Fung Wan x Pull-in collection are available at Pull-in, Hysan Place, Causeway Bay, tel: 3543 1234.