Designer Colin Corbett on the art, sex and fun of the jockstrap

Designer Colin Corbett brings a unique artistic vision to the unexpected in his series of cultural and humorous jockstraps. Taking themes from Ancient Greece, word play and world religion, Corbett’s work focuses on the taboo attraction of the male member in ways both surprising and provocative.

“What I find interesting about the jockstrap is the correlation between ‘macho’ and ‘camp’,” says the designer.  “I had a stock phrase for anyone who looked uncomfortable, ‘oh, he’s got his diamante jockstrap on inside out.’ I’d never seen a diamante jockstrap. Finally I made one and it caused such mirth, I expanded to other designs using rhinestones (Jewel Support series) and masks (Masked Ball).”

Corbett’s work makes strong statements about men - a ‘fisting’ jockstrap made from red bandanas and ‘army’, covered with gun-toting ‘my weapon is bigger than yours’ soldiers. The mock medieval Cum-A-Lot is alarmingly regal: family jewels shielded by a plumed coat of arms.

Silk flowers such as Orchid (illustrated above) echo the ancient meaning of the plant – the word ‘orchis’,  Greek for testicle – which the ancients deemed the Flower of Magnificence.  “Purple orchid” is slang for the male member.  The Chinese associate the flower with ‘perfect man’.

Stereotypical national costumes inspired Corbett to venture into themes of identity such as Dutch clogs, English pinstripe suiting and Indian turbans.  Through his travels, Corbett discovered the potency of religious iconography, producing the ‘Saints’ jockstrap covered with medallions from Christian religious sites, mainly in Naples. “It isn't miles away from early religious paintings where the focus can be quite homoerotic. The eye is drawn to the chiaroscuro of the loincloth.” The sadus - holy men who frequent the Hindu temples of India - provide the basis for a jockstrap covered in Hindu Gods. The cobalt blue Turkish ‘Evil Eyes’ (Evil Eye-Balls) is a protector of men and evokes Turkish beaches and bathhouses, where men can be as they are.