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While opening a 1998 African fashion show in The Netherlands, Prince Claus once ripped off his necktie at a pressconference and flung it away.  It landed at the feet of his wife, Queen Beatrix.  “A snake around my neck,” he said.  Funny thing, he got a standing ovation.  According to this AP article:

Reporting the story that evening, one TV anchorman peeled off his tie. In solidarity, so did the sportscaster who gave the soccer scores.

Now, a week later, Claus is a folk hero, and an open collar has never been more in vogue.

The phenomenon already has a name: “Claustrophilia,” which celebrates the prince for denouncing ties.

“I also suffer from Claus’s tie phobia, so I’m shouting for joy at the prince’s call for a ban on neckties,” Wouter van Winden, a businessman in the central city of Delft, was quoted as saying in Monday’s De Volkskrant newspaper.

“No piece of clothing combines so little function with so much potential to show bad taste,” he said.

“For me, a necktie is like a dog leash – both symbolize a limit on freedom. Why else does Nelson Mandela never wear one?”

Amen, says Claus, who proclaimed the South African president “the best-dressed man I know” during Wednesday’s fashion show at the royal palace in Amsterdam.

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