For roughly half his life, Karl Hab has been photographing fashion in some form or other – from the earliest days inside the cult Parisian boutique Colette when he was still a teenager, to ongoing commissions by houses such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. Trained as an aviation engineer, he brings a singular eye to his images – an atmospheric feeling in sharp focus, always alternating between warm and cool light. In 2019, Hab published Heels, a visual exploration of striking footwear on the streets of Paris. His new book, 24H Paris, which officially debuts this week, follows similar surveys of Los Angeles and Hong Kong. From one minimalist page to the next, he pays tribute to his hometown with breath-taking aerial views and captivating detail shots through various times of the day.
What, in your mind, has been the most significant change in fashion from two years ago?
I would say shows can now take different forms, either digital or in real-life. Also, big houses are deciding to have only one or two shows, nothing more. They can focus on the digital – and through activations and interactions with the public – more than before in order to achieve what they really want.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing and/or selling dreams?
Fashion has and will always be an escape from reality, and it sometimes sells dreams because of the special world – these special shows – that feel like a dream. I think that people are taking more interest in fashion shows than ever. And the industry has created a dream machine because, in a certain way, you know that you’ll never be able to wear what you have seen on the catwalk.
How might this have a positive effect on people?
We are always impressed to see the new shows, the new collections. Each season, brands and designers start from scratch with a new concept, with just one theme, which they turn into a dream that spreads around the world.
What is one trend or item of clothing that will define the coming year?
Clothing that is made to be worn and focused on its principal purpose. I am also thinking about the Birkenstock variations and Crocs collabs that make wearing regular shoes obsolete.
What would be your fashion dream-come-true?
When fashion can mix all types of people and create an alchemy that no one had thought of. We always think of people directly connected to fashion, to this industry, but we forget the people who make it all possible. For instance, I would love to see a studio from a big house explaining what they do to make a dream become reality.