It's the 1950s. Confirmed bachelor Reynolds Woodcock is a famed London couturier, clothing the rich and famous. His business is a one man show on the design side. His genius can only be achieved within an environment which he controls to his complete sensibility. On the business side is his spinster sister, Cyril Woodcock, who maintains order within the household to allow Reynolds to work within his controlled environment. She will, however, not allow anything or anyone to upset the apple cart, including Reynolds losing sight that it is a business, and not just a means to design and create fashions solely for his own satisfaction without regard for the clients. That balance in their work/live relationship has the potential to take a turn when Reynolds meets waitress Alma Elson. She not only becomes his muse but his assistant and lover. The entrance of Alma into Reynolds' life and thus the business changes the balance between Reynolds and Cyril, especially as Alma has her own sensibility of herself in Reynolds' life and in his business, which is often at odds with that control that Reynolds and Cyril have worked so hard to create and maintain.