Ten or fifteen years ago YSL Couture Mono Eyeshadow could have been quite sensational. The beautiful pigment, the shine, the workable texture would have been a standout among other department store brands. The one I bought, Modele, can give the legendary Lancome Erika F a run for its money (it's not a clone, as Erika F has a distinct khaki green undertone and Modele is somewhat lilacy). The thing is that we're in 2015 and the things that make an eye shadow top notch are rich pigment, an almost creamy-smooth texture and a fallout-free finish. Also, colors should be blendable without ending up as a muddy mess (alternately, a texture should be suitable for a lay-down application that requires the lightest touch and a very minimal blending).
As you've probably guessed, YSL Couture Mono Eyeshadow in Modele (#5) is none of those things. It's stunning in the pan, gorgeous when you finger-swatch it, but then comes the moment of truth when you you want to create a makeup look, and it's... just Ok.
The first thing to know is that you need a flat stiffish paddle-shaped eye shadow brush (basically, a MAC 239 type). Round or full brushes will just kick up too much product and not deposit it smoothly and precisely. Actually, that was the second thing to know. The first is USE A PRIMER. You need a very receptive surface to get most of the eye shadow to stay put. As soft and finely-milled as it is, it's surprisingly flighty. Then there's the issue of intensity. The swatch you see above is four layers of the eye shadow. One or two are just too sheer, and not in that glowing Suqqu-like way. Just too sparse. Working methodically with the right brush and then a very careful blending with a soft and thin brush just along the edges produces a very pretty look. It requires some cleanup, since YSL Modele is very shimmery and there is quite a bit of fallout, but I won't deny that it's lovely (though those of you who dislike shiny particles would do better with a matte version, perhaps #4 Facon or #17 Dedale. I probably should have gone with either one). The question is: is this enough?
Bottom Line: My answer to the question above is no.
YSL Couture Mono Eyeshadow Modele #5 ($30) is available at the counters and online.