Late, once more. He appears having stripped back to civvies – his style natural and unintentional, a jumble of grey trackie daks, black Birkenstocks and “something fun”, a customised denim jacket (“My friend Jai sews badges on for every country he’s been to”). He’s ready to talk. “Today was work but I’m always having fun when I’m working hard. It doesn’t bother me having to work every single day because I enjoy what I do so much,” he offers, running a salad fork through his thick, tousled River Phoenix locks, the only remaining trace of today’s assignment. Barrett was scouted age 13 in his hometown – though he lost the circling agent’s card. “I had no idea what this person was talking about.” He may have been on fashion’s radar but it wasn’t yet on his, at least until Mum found the contact. Whirlwind is often used to describe someone’s rapid rise to somewhere. But since signing to IMG this May, Barrett’s been caught in a gale, from catwalks to campaigns, fashion capitals to penthouse parties. Couture has a new modelling monarchy and the Australian sits centrestage, alongside Lucky Blue Smith and the girls singular of name – Cara, Kendall, Gigi. “I got really lucky, I got a good chance and it’s opened doors to so many things and I’m trying to do everything at the moment and getting to all the other things you can get into through the connections,” he says, not a single breath taken. Everything is “the best”, “the coolest”. He’s “so in the moment”, “so loving life”, so nonstop energetic, so innately cool. Just, well, so. Barrett’s also young. And real. “I carry a blanket with me and wrap it around me. It’s not cashmere, it’s a nice cheap one.” IMG, he muses, has become a second family, “They adopted me into everything.” It’s fitting, because for all the quirks and breezy teen persona, life’s already dealt a lot. There’s no desire to dig into his father’s much-publicised 2013 drug conviction, but, like all the designer costumes thrown his way, he’s worn it well.
White cotton ‘Void’ jacket, $399, and white cotton shirt, $119, both by Jack London, available at David Jones.
Black brocade jumper, $3600, by Dolce & Gabbana; black cotton boxers, $49.95, by Calvin Klein, available at David Jones.