This vintage tin contains a dozen eye shadow pressed powders. It has been well used and the four applicators are missing. The product carries the St. Michael trademark, which was used by Marks and Spencer between 1927 and 2000. The brand name was chosen in honour of Michael Marks by his son, Simon. Michael founded the company with Thomas Spencer at a Leeds Market stall in 1884. Since 2000 the name has been applied to the firm’s guarantee of quality, rather like a kitemark.
Though the tin clearly states in English that the contents form an Eye Shadow Kit made in England, most of the information is in French. The contents are shown as ’12 Ombres a paupieres en poudre coloris mode’, which translates as ‘ 12 fashionable powder eye shadows’. This indicates that this particular tin was produced for the French market. Marks and Spencer had opened two shops in France in 1975 and expanded further into the 1980s. This tin shows a copyright for 1982 and has the address of the firm’s French headquarters in Paris. At one time there were ten M&S stores in Paris, but by 2001 the bubble had burst and the company withdrew from France, returning for a while in 2011, but closing the last store in Paris at the end of October 2017. Products for the French market are now available online and food-only outlets have been successful.
Returning to the product shown here, of the twelve shades five have been well used. They would have been applied by rubbing the applicator on the powder and applying the colour to the eyelids to enhance the appearance of the eyes. If favourite colours are applied regularly, having four applicators would allow repeated use without having to remove an earlier colour.
Marks and Spencer still produce eye shadow powders with own-brands such as Obsessed and Autograph. These have a brush to apply the colour. (See below).