If you were a fan of the Backstreet Boys back in the 1990s and 2000s, you’ll instantly recall the boy band’s iconic 2000 Rolling Stone cover. The image, shot by Mark Seliger, made headlines around the world for featuring the five members—Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson—sporting traditional suits and ties up top and trousers dropped to their ankles below. “We were definitely a little nervous for that shoot that day,” recalls Littrell. Carter adds, “I remember being embarrassed. I’m not the guy that likes to take off my shirt. But it became iconic, I guess. You do something, and you never know what it will turn into.”

Decades later, the Backstreet Boys are still going strong: They’re currently embarking on their DNA world tour, and last month they released their first-ever Christmas album, titled A Very Backstreet Christmas. Now in a new holiday campaign for the underwear label MeUndies, the five singers are paying homage to their roots by re-creating that famous magazine cover but in a new way. In the campaign, the stars sport velvet or satin tuxedos paired with MeUndies underwear in festive tartan or Christmas-tree prints.  “It was fun to re-create it but with a Christmas twist,” says Littrell. “It’s a little nod to the fans who have been with us for almost 30 years!”

For the group members, starring in the campaign for MeUndies’s holiday collection—which also includes pajamas and loungewear—felt like a natural fit: Carter points out that there’s an underwear bit in their current tour. “We have a segment in our show where Kevin and AJ actually sign some underwear and throw them in the audience,” says Carter. “It’s paying [tribute to] some of the fans that would throw their underwear to us on the stage. We’ve gotten a lot of brassieres and underwear thrown at us over the years.”

Photo: Getty Images

In the spirit of re-creating one of their most famous ’90s fashion moments (admit it, you had that Rolling Stone cover taped to your wall too), the band also touched on how their style from the decade is right on trend in 2022. “Everything was baggy back then, and it’s funny, now everything’s baggy again,” says Carter. “We could just go back in our wardrobe and recycle this stuff if we really wanted to; we’ve gone through decades of different styles and generations.” McLean adds that the band has dedicated storage for their vintage outfits, including pieces from their Into the Millennium and Black & Blue tours. “We definitely have a lot of our ’90s outfits,” says McLean. “We have a huge warehouse full of all the archival pieces; we love the baggy and oversized sportswear—trends always come back.”

Heading into the holidays, the group looks forward to winding down from their world tour. “Every Christmas, my kids and my wife wake up and put on our matchy-matchy Christmas onesies,” Carter says. “I have three kids, so during that time you just shut off your phones. It’s about the memories that you create with each other.”

“We are really looking forward to getting home to our families to celebrate the holidays and be together,” adds Richardson. And you can bet the new holiday album will be playing in all of their households: For the five singers, it was a bucket-list item to do the Christmas record. “We all love the holidays, and we came to the studio with our favorite songs or songs that meant something to us,” says Dorough. “We also have some originals that will become Christmas classics for us.”  

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