The Palais Galliera has the largest collection of images by the photographer Egidio Scaioni: 534 original colour and black and white prints. Most of them come from the Lucien Lelong fashion house, but the following houses are also represented for the 1920-1930s: Maggy Rouff, Agnès, Piguet, Le Monnier, Jenny. The museum also holds a fine example of its production in the 1950s for Jacques Heim. A donation of colour and black and white prints from the 1920-1930s by Madame Scaioni entered the museum in 2018. In 2019 a new set of prints was added to this exceptional collection in terms of quality and number.
Born on 11 October 1894 in Milan, Egidio Scaioni studied business and then, passionate about photography, moved to Paris in the early 1920s. He worked intensively in fashion and advertising, publishing in the greatest fashion magazines and collaborating with great couturiers such as Maggy Rouff and especially Lucien Lelong, with whom he was very close. At the beginning of the 1930s he set up his studio at 15 rue Malebranche in the 5th arrondissement in Paris. He stopped during the war and resumed his activity as a fashion photographer until the mid-1950s, notably for Jacques Heim. At the same time, he made many portraits. He then gave up fashion photography to devote himself to publishing art books by founding the Varenne publishing house. E. Scaioni died in Paris on March 30, 1966.
From the mid-1920s, Egidio Scaioni's style is perfectly identifiable: he worked on lighting with a rigorous and modernist aesthetic inspired by E Steichen. His geometric decors, influenced by the decorative arts, are his signature. His geometrical decors, influenced by the decorative arts, are his signature. They go perfectly with the fashion of the 1920s or with Lucien Lelong's young and sporty collections. In the 1930's his images display a sobriety and elegance that enhances the sophisticated cuts of the outfits. The prints made in his studio are always of a very high plastic quality.
Egidio Scaioni is also one of the pioneers of colour photography, which was introduced in magazines in the 1930s for advertising purposes, and later via fashion photography. He was one of the few to use the Vivex process in Paris, a process that was used between 1929 and 1939. Many articles in the United States praise his talent in this field.
Egidio Scaioni's photographs were published in the following French magazines: "Vogue", "Fémina", "Le Jardin des Modes", "L'Officiel de la Couture", "Excelsior Modes", as well as in many German, Italian and American magazines ("Harper's Bazaar", "Fortune"...).
A talented photographer with a strong presence on the Parisian and international photographic scene, Egidio Scaioni has so far been ignored by historical research.
In the late 1920s, chemist D.A. Spencer adapted the carbro technique to the production of trichrome prints. This process makes it possible to produce a pigmentary trichromatic proof from the successive transfers of three primary images inscribed in a pigmented gelatin relief. His company Color Photographs Ltd (London) also markets equipment for colour photography; in particular trichromatic chambers ("one shot camera") which enable the three monochrome plates of a trichromatic selection to be produced simultaneously. Due to the complexity of the process and the cost of the prints, the laboratory's clientele is composed almost exclusively of English or American professional photographers working in advertising, artwork reproduction, portraiture and fashion. The process benefits from the good stability characteristics associated with pigment prints. The Vivex marks the apogee of the trichromatic pigmentary processes that will decline after the end of the war.