Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: House of Eliott - Series 1

One of my hobbies is sewing, and I am also interested in the business world; House of Eliott combines both of those aspects. I had never heard about this series before until my mom mentioned it to me and bought it. We would sit down in the evenings to watch a couple of episodes. It was really interesting. I'm not too big of a fan of 1920's fashion, but this series did do 20's fashion justice.
Box Art

When their father dies, Beatrice (Bea) and Evangeline (Evie) Eliott (Stella Gonet and Louise Lombard) have to find a way to support themselves. Bea is able to get a job working for photographer, Jack Maddox, who becomes a friend of the two sisters. Both Eliott sisters are able to sew and design their own clothes: eventually, they start up their own couture fashion house called the House of Eliott.

There aren't too many faces that you may easily recognize in House of Eliott. Stella Gonet was in the most recent adaptation of Persuasion as Mrs. Musgrove, and Louise Lombard was on popular show NCIS. Those are the only two that I can think of. The creators of the series are well known, though. This series was created by Eileen Atkins (Deborah Jenkyns in Cranford) and Jean Marsh (Mrs. Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility); these two women were also the same women who created popular 70's series Upstairs Downstairs.

Of the two sisters, I prefered Bea to Evie. Bea was more sensible than emotional and naive Evie. Since Evie had no mother, Bea had to act as a mother to her (and because of the fact that Bea was much older than Evie). I didn't dislike Evie, but I thought that she was a little too naive at times. It seemed that she was more driven by emotion, while Bea was more driven by what was sensible.

The one character that I really disliked was Penelope Maddox, Jack Maddox's sister. I don't really think she added much to the story other than she was controversial. It seemed like that was her only purpose: to be controversial. She got irritating quickly. If she wasn't in the series, the storyline would have gone on smoothly without her. She seemed to be an unnecessary addition to the show.

The scenery is very nice. You can tell that the episodes were not filmed on sound sets. Outdoor scenes take place both in nice London neighborhoods and in poorer neighborhoods. Since House of Eliott takes place in London, there aren't many opportunities to see country scenery. You do occasionally see country scenery, but there are very few scenes of them. The interiors of some of the buildings are also very nice to look at.

Evie in her party dress
One of the main aspects of House of Eliott is the costuming, since the show is about fashion. I never was much of a fan of 1920's fashion, but Wow! is it awesome in here! Towards the beginning of the series, Bea and Evie's outfits aren't all that great (since they were poorer), but as the series goes on and they develop their fashion house, the costuming gets better. The costuming is not limited to what the main characters are wearing: there are also fashion shows that show off the collections that the House of Eliott had been working on. It's very interesting to see.

I love the theme song and credits song! They are very upbeat pieces and, just a warning, they may get stuck in you head! There are a couple of dance scenes with some nice 20's music. A very good soundtrack, overall.

Bea at a party with her date.
Overall: 4/5
A very good start to the series. There is one episode where there is a mature scene at the end of it, but it was only in that one episode (Episode 2, specifically). There are some mature topics discussed, but they don't get really graphic, but there are things implied. The costuming is very lovely and the plot lines are very interesting. Each episode continues to the next, similar to a miniseries, but this was a regular TV series. I would recommend this show.

House of Eliott - Series 1 can be purchased on it's own or along with the show's two other seasons in a complete collection. There are twelve, 50 minute episodes on four DVD's.


  1. Thank you for recommending this and for your review. I really enjoyed watching the first series and look forward to watching the second season as well!
    My favorite is actually Evie, she's so spirited and more sympathetic and doesn't waste time but comes straight to the point. Bea with her stodgy ways of suppressing what she's really feeling and bossing everyone gets on my nerves a bit. I was saddened by how often the sisters seemed to be at odds toward the end of the first series.
    I disliked their cousin Arthur immensely, his acting also was very affected and a bit exaggerated but I suppose every story needs a villain (or two). I agree about Penelope, when she gets on her high horse it's not very nice, it would have been nice if just once she could have been happy for the girls in their successes.
    The clothes are marvelous! Especially in their 'Nocturne' collectiong! I also really liked Tilly's character. I only wish that Bea and Evie hadn't bobbed their hair, I loved their long hairstyles. And the sketches drawn for their designs must have taken quite a while to work on. And I quite liked Jack's character, actor Aden Gillen is charming!
    Also pleased to see so many interesting actors pop up during the series!

  2. I disagree with your comments on Penelope. She is there to represent the womens movement and the "new woman". She is there to give a contrast to Bea and Evie's situation. One of the beauties of the first season is that it really gives you a sense of where you are in History, and I believe that Penelope is just one of the ways that the series does this.



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