In the spring of 1920, Beatrice and Evangeline Elliott are aghast to find that their late father has left them nearly penniless. They had always assumed that their father, a successful physician, was well-off but they learn that he also had a secret life and spent most of his fortune. The immediate problem is financial as they search for work but their father had forced them to live a very sheltered life and they're really not qualified to do much of anything. Through good luck, a new friend introduces them to her brother, Jack Maddox, a well-known society photographer who is in need of a receptionist
Evie takes a job at Partini's dressmakers. Bea meets Mrs Pearce when she comes to the house looking for Evie. When Mrs Pearce finds out she was left out the will she demands money for Henry's son, Sebastian. In order to pay of the last of the debts Evie and Bea decide to sell the house and move in to a flat above Jack's studio. Bea also takes a job at Mrs Partini's.
Evie is shocked to discover that she has a 24-year old half-brother Sebastian, whose mother, Mrs Pearce, Mr Eliott's former mistress, turns up on the sisters' doorstep demanding a share of the will for her son. However, they are still struggling to make ends meet and have to put the house up for sale.
Evie learns some shocking news from Sebastian. Jack persuades Bea to take a chance with the Eliott establishment. Evie receives an unexpected and unwanted gift from Arthur. The sisters decide to open 'The House Of Eliott' but it turns out to be harder than they first thought. Arthur gets in deeper with the 25 Club. Both Eliott sisters receive unwanted proposal's from men in their lives.
In her continuing effort to find money for their new venture, Bea visits Sir Desmond Gillespie, Evie's godfather. A merchant banker, Gillespie agrees to put the Eliott sisters proposal before his Board, but only if Arthur Eliott agrees to act as their guarantor. Arthur isn't predisposed to helping them nor is he prepared to help Sebastian Pearce, who has now admitted that the late Dr. Eliott was not his father. Sebastian gets his revenge however by informing the police of the goings on at Arthur's nightclub.
Beatrice's world is turned upside-down when the man she had hoped to marry 10 years previously re-enters her life, now married to someone else, who has ordered her wardrobe from the sister fashion house. Sebastian tries to persuade Evie to fly with him on one of his regular crossings to Paris, but Beatrice is not keen on the idea.
Beatrice and Evie clash over their different approaches to fashion as they consider launching their own collection, with Beatrice being more traditional and cautious, and Evie being fresh, inventive and daring. Evie is withdrawn and tearful over Sebastian's death in an air-crash and still has not forgiven Hugo for preventing her catching the same flight. Jack is worried about his sister Penelope, who has been knocked about by some of the down-and-outs she has been trying to help.
Evie and Beatrice have a serious argument in which their relationship is threatened when they are unable to agree on designs for their proposed collection. Their differences reach such a stage that Evie moves out, and Jack's relationship with Beatrice poses a dilemma for him when he has to act as arbiter between the two sisters.
Evie and Beatrice resolve their creative differences and work together to create their first fashion collection. They plan a collection of stunning evening wear in blue. A charity ball for Penelope's Mission gives Evie and Bea the chance to be introduced to top fashion writer, Victor Stride, who is encouraging. However, his editorial is a travesty of truth and threatens to ruin their reputation. Jack and Bea's relationship deepens, but she does not want to make any commitments until the pressures of the show and business have decreased.
Bea and Evie travel to Paris and consider working for Gille Caragnac, a successful couturier. When he offers them a permanent position at his fashion house, some tough decisions have to be made. Jack arrives and proposes to Bea. Florence Ranby is appointed as head of the workroom at The House of Eliott but Tilly and Madge have difficulty adapting to her fastidious ways. Bea and Jack return to England without Evie.
Newly weds Jack and Bea find their marital bliss is disturbed by the arrival of Jack's old girlfriend Clara Rhoades. Things are made worse by Clara's interference in the running of the House of Eliott when she manages to persuade Bea to employ Alice Bourgoyne, an ineffectual vendeuse. Evie arrives from Paris and is committed to making the House of Eliott as successful as Maison Gille. Sir Desmond suddenly dies. Tilly continues to experience difficulty working with Florence but when she meets Norman Foss things don't seem quite as bad.
When Evie is invited to spend the weekend at the Douglass family home, she becomes embroiled on their family conflicts. When she encourages Frances to go to art college, she succeeds in alienating nearly all the Douglass family. However, speed racing enthusiast James Douglass strikes up a friendship with her and is determined they be more than just friends. Jack's work commitments keep him away from Bea while she is concerned about the finances of the House of Eliott. Could Sir Desmond have been involved in fraud? In the workroom, Florence is perturbed when Tilly's old ali resumes her old post.
Following a head on collision with a herd of cows, James and Evie become close. However, his obsession with racing proves too much for her so soon after Sebastian's plane crash. Bea meets Jack's parents for the first time when they spend Christmas together. His mother, an artist, proves to be a design inspiration and Bea resolves to alter the artistic direction of the latest House of Eliott collection. Alice's husband dies and the sisters realize why she has been so inefficient. Tilly and Norman decide to get married.
When The House of Eliott agrees to design the costumes for a ballet, Jack becomes jealous of the amount of time Bea spends with David, the choreographer. Their already troubled marriage suffers another set back when they go to the cottage to spend their wedding anniversary and the conversation turns to having children. Joseph expresses concerns about The House of Eliott finances and Ralph Saroyan suggests that Joseph may not be as honest as he appears. Tilly and Norman get married in style.
Evie finds herself attracted to government treasury minister Sir Alexander Montford. Bea and Evie hope that Lady Elizabeth Montford, in her role as trend-setter, will give her custom to their fashion house. Saroyan is determined to remove Joseph from the House of Eliott, but Joseph is equally determined to clear his name.
Alexander has a heart to heart with Jack about his feelings for Evie but Jack fails to tell Bea what has been going on. It appears that Ralph Saroyan is guilty of more than just fraud when he is implicated in the death of Sir Desmond, however can the sisters do anything to bring him to justice? After yet more furious rows and acrimonious accusations, Jack and Bea make a decision about their future.
Following Ralph's disappearance to Germany, the House of Eliott's finances are in dire straights. Bea moves back in with Evie following her separation from Jack but has difficulty focusing on work. Meanwhile, Jack throws himself into film making as a way to forget his troubles. When the General Strike takes place it proves to be a superb subject for a documentary, especially when there is such an attractive leading lady. Elizabeth Montford will not give up her husband without a fight.
There is stiff competition for the sisters when Maison Gille opens a fashion house near theirs. As their finances are so terrible, it appears that accepting Gille's offer to buy the House Of Eliott is the only solution. Things go from bad to worse when the press gets hold of news about Evie and Alexander's affair. Neither Jack nor Alexander want to see the House of Eliott close but will Bea and Evie be prepared to accept their offers of financial support?
After they decide to accept Jack's offer, the House of Eliott business begins to get back on track. Having broken off his relationship with Emma, Jack invites Bea to the premier of his documentary but will she accept his invitation? An influential Hollywood film maker makes Jack and the sisters an offer that would resolve their financial difficulties but would force them to compromise their artistic integrity. Alexander is forced to resign from his governemt position however he fails to tell Evie the real reasons behind his impending departure for Italy.
As business at the House of Eliott thrives, an offer to tour with their outfits in the USA seems too hard to resist. Jack meets up with some old war time comrades but finds that making a film about his experiences is more problematic than he thought.. Alexander returns to London but Jack and Bea go on the defensive and refuse to allow him to see Evie. When Evie discovers their scurrilous behavior she is none too pleased. Jack is offered a job directing a film in Germany, could it really be over between him and Bea?
The House of Eliott designs prove to be a great success in the USA and Bea finds that she has a new admirer, Donald, a successful businessman. When they return to London they discover that Alice has left for Maison Gille and Madge finds communication with her husband Gerry difficult. A young aspiring designer, Grace Keeble, infuriates the sisters when she double crosses them and Evie is not persuaded by business entrepreneur Larry Cotter to invest in a joint venture. Bea is distracted when it emerges no one has heard from Jack in some time.
Bea is shocked by Jack's sudden reappearance and her confusion is compounded when Donald arrives. The House of Eliott employs ambitious Grace Keeble but her designs, and her personality, are not to Evie's liking. The 'Ready to Wear' clothing venture with Larry Cotter seems to go from strength to strength. Madge and Gerry's marriage deteriorates. When Jack has difficulty getting a studio to accept his latest script, he enlists Bea's help. The arrival of two refugees effectively destroys a romantic evening for Jack and Bea.
Tilly works hard helping to put the latest House of Eliott 'Ready To Wear' collection together but her health begins to suffer as a consequence. Jack arranges for Katya to be employed by the House of Eliott but Madge is definitely not happy. When Tilly's purse goes missing, all eyes look towards Katya, however Agnes' latest beau knows more than he lets on. Donald proposes to Bea but her feelings for Jack have not been resolved. When he pressurizes her into making a decision it appears that fate has the upper hand. Jack is taken a back by Bea's announcement.
Tilly and Norman's baby is born but the celebrations are short lived. Bea and Evie express concerns to Larry Cotter about the quality of the Ready To Wear collection and he does his best to reassure them. As Bea preparers for motherhood she worries about how it will impact on her life and Jack's. will he really take the responsibilities of being a father seriously? Evie's artist protege Daniel succeeds in having a gallery showing of his latest work but the exhibition is rocked by scandal when an old patron causes quite a scene.
Bea has a difficult pregnancy and is plagued by doubts about her ability to be a good mother. Evie has trouble tracking down Daniel. Tilly has difficulty coming to terms with the loss of her son William and her relationship with Norman suffers as a consequence. Meanwhile, Madge seeks solace in Charles. Jack is employed by the Communist Party to write a newspaper article on the living and working conditions of Glasgow laborers. Will he make it back in time for the birth of his baby?
When Daniel agrees to paint a portrait of Celia Romford to appease Bea, it creates conflict between him and Evie. Tilly becomes increasingly withdrawn and Norman enlists the help of her colleagues and finds in order to alleviate her suffering. Katya discovers that the 'Ready To Wear' collection at the Bayswater workshop is not quite to the House of Eliott specifications. Jack's political ambitions are realized when his policies on implementing a minimum wage are accepted by the Labour Party.
There is trouble at the Bayswater workshop when the seamstresses accuse the House Of Eliott of exploitation. This causes some considerable political embarrassment for Jack who has been campaigning ardently for the implementation of the living wage. Inferior copies of the Ready To Wear collection are seen on the shops and all fingers point towards Larry Cotter and Grace Keeble. However, as they are nowhere to be found, Bea and Evie have trouble in proving their own innocents. Betty is forced to come clean about her involvement in recent events but will she keep her job when the truth is exposed?
The extent of Larry and Grace's corruption is exposed, much to the relief of the Eliott sisters and Jack. Norman has one final attempt at saving his marriage to Tilly. Will she ever be able to recover from the death of William? When Bea, Evie, Jack and Daniel go away to a House Of Eliott client's for the weekend, Daniel has trouble adjusting to mingling with the upper classes. Despite their social differences, Evie and Daniel decide to marry and Jack discusses the possibility of running for Parliament with Bea.
As they prepare for their wedding, Evie discovers that Daniel has some old arguments to settle with his family. The House Of Eliott has a new client; the wife and mother in law of Jack's Conservative political adversary, Lady Crowborough and Lady Westlake. Tilly manages to befriend Lady Westlake but she is disturbed by the truth behind the social facade. Daniel is offered a scholarship in Paris and Norman and Tilly contemplate a radical change to their lives.
Jack's political ambitions are realized but at what expense to the Crowborough family? Daniel contemplates accepting the bursary to Paris and Evie considers going with him. When Miles' parents show an interest in The House Of Eliott, he finds himself promoted. However, not everyone is happy to have a new partner in the business. Bea re-evaluates her role as wife and mother and Evie is determined to keep the House Of Elliott couture.