Father's Day Q&A
In honour of Father’s Day, the H&C Times pays tribute to stylish patriarchs around the world. Barrie Williams, 59, is a European Agricultural Policy Specialist based in Brussels. He was brought up in London and has also lived in Paris. He has three adult daughters who live in the UK. When he is not meeting with diplomats or analysing complex policy issues, he is an amateur lead guitarist in a band called Foreign Affairs.
Q. Why and when did you move to Brussels?
A. I first moved to Brussels 26 years ago from London for my job. This is the second time that I have lived in Brussels having spent six years working in Paris. Not only has this made my professional life more interesting, living in these two great European cities has given my daughters the opportunity to benefit from a varied cultural experience as well as to perfect their French linguistic abilities.
Q. What do you love about living in Brussels?
A. Brussels is completely different to London. Both cities have their respective charms. Brussels is a relatively small and highly cosmopolitan city - it is easy to find your way around and to discover unknown treasures! Its restaurants offer excellent food in various styles. Curiously enough, its ex-pat music scene is thriving!
Q. Which city has been your favourite to live in and why?
A. I must say that I have always loved London - if there is a city in which I feel at home, it has to be London. London has so much to offer socially, artistically, culturally… Having said that, Paris and Brussels also have their charms of course…
Q. What is the main difference between Belgian and British style?
A. You can always recognise British style - at its best, it embodies quality with traditional elegance, whilst also acknowledging cutting edge innovation! Belgium also has its own style, of course - but it is probably more difficult to identify.
Q. Brussels and Antwerp have a colourful fashion scene, who is your favourite Belgian designer?
A. Bruno Pieters designs for the men’s line of Delvaux (a Belgian luxury-goods manufacturer). He graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 1999.
Q.Who is your style inspiration?
A. The Duke of Windsor. He was rather radical for his time but always managed to combine quality and style.
Q. What is your office style and what are your favourite brands?
A. It is very important to look presentable in my job – I could be talking to an Ambassador one day and having a meeting in the European Parliament the next… I also need to feel comfortable in what I wear. I wear a bespoke suit made from my Chinese tailor with a Hawes & Curtis non iron shirt and 100% silk tie. I like to subtly add personality with accessories. I am a great supporter of British fashion and Jermyn Street is my favourite place to buy formal shirts. Hawes & Curtis are my favourite shirts and their accessories compliment them so well. My shirts and accessories are shipped from London - it is so easy to order precisely what I want via the Hawes & Curtis website. The range is superb and delivery is faultless. Hawes & Curtis offers everything that I would expect from a fine British shirtmaker in terms of quality, range and fit.
Q. How do you unwind from work?
A. I have always been passionate about music, and when time permits I take great pleasure in playing lead guitar in a covers band in Brussels. When a song works and the audience is clearly enjoying itself, it really does make you feel good!
Q. What is the best thing about being a father?
A. It is great to watch my daughters growing up. It is fascinating seeing the paths they choose and the decisions they make - they are all very different.
Q.What is on your Father’s Day wish list?